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Scott answers your questions - round 2.24 - 8/11/11

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StarShip Captain

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

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:00 am    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.24 - 8/11/11 Reply with quote

hi Scott,
1st of all sorry for my English
i am a bit tired of almost every music and you know, from time to time i am searching for someone new and interesting to listen to, but you are still my fav player... you were such an inspiration for me to see beyond the "music daltonism"of rock music and some scientific jazz, if i can say so...i know the theory stuff for a long time, but I don't wanna play like a dead man..haha.. soul, energy, confidence- that's what i have learned from your records:) unfortunately i am not as good as i wanna be, and i am still trying, but life is so short... i like your “jingle bells” lesson- the best lesson ever!!!! And i also like what you have said about your chick corea period and all that kind of stuff
let the tone be with you man

Thanks - much appreciated!

Hi Scott,

have you seen this one?

Well, anyway ... next time I come to your Open Counseling, I'll promise to play some jazz. Had some time to practice since 1994

Yes I've seen it, and anyone who degrades Kenny G is a friend of mine.

Hello, Scott. A few questions.

Is there a thought process when you name the instrumentals you write? Or do the titles just pop into your head?

Answered in 2.17

You indicated that the new trio music will have more changes than the previous releases. What made you decide to go in that direction?

Mainly because we don't have vocals anymore, so I'm just trying to keep the music interesting.

Is it more difficult to play music with a lot of changes in a trio setting?

Not really. In fact I find playing over changes easier than playing over vamps. If you know your instrument well enough, changes make it easier to come up with motific ideas. I feel like I have to work harder at creating an interesting solo over a one chord vamp.

Are you going to use the same "jamming in the studio" approach to the trio material that was used on the last 2 Tribal Tech releases?

Maybe. We were jamming at soundcheck sometimes and came up with some cool stuff.

Hi Scott have you ever used a compressor? And what is your take on it.


In a sense, I use one all the time, because distortion has compression built in. I don't play with a totally clean sound very often, but if I do, I'll usually use my old Boss CS-2 - it's pretty transparent and adds sustain to the notes. Without it, chords don't sound even and notes sound "plinky" even when picking soft. You can use a compressor in a very subtile way just to smooth things out - you don't have to hear it like an effect. I aways use a compressor when recording vocals, otherwise there's a risk of losing a good take because of an over, especially when using digital gear.

Has anyone approached you with this trem system? Like to hear your viewpoint on it…

I've never tried one, but just from viewing the videos, I have mixed feelings. It's cool that the plate screws right onto the body, but I'm wondering if a thin piece of steel can transfer vibrations as well as the Fender vintage bridge. I also wonder about it's durability - if it breaks, the whole bridge comes off in your hand. I've broken stainless steel tremolo arms, as I tend to be violent with the bar, so I don't know about a thin piece of spring steel… I saw that it has block saddles - I've found that bent steel saddles produce a fatter tone when comparing on the same bridge. All that being said, maybe I'll get John to order one and put it on a guitar I don't use that much - it's the only way to really check it out.

Hi Scott.
I just wanted to thank you for all your work and for the inspiration you gave me. You are my favourite guitar player, I can't wait to hear the new Tribal Tech album.
Would you consider going for another tour to Poland? I would really love to hear you live.

Best regards.

Thanks! I'd love to tour in Poland again, but I'm not in control of where I play - that's up to my agent and the offers he gets.

Scott how can I improve my sense of timing? I play in cover bands, currently country. Sometimes I run into a tune where the studio guitarist slips in fills in just the right places between vocal lines, how can i learn to do that? here is and example:
Is that raw talent or can it be developed?? Thanks as always.

It's impossible to listen to someone and know if they're naturally gifted or just worked really hard. Either way, you arrive at the same place. The guitarist on this video is a very tasteful player who gets good tone and phrases well - experience is a major factor, but I'm sure he did his share of transcribing other great players.

Scott, do you still enjoy the equipment chase? There are times I still enjoy checking out new gear, and then other times when I could find the tone I hear in my head and be done with it. I guess one's tone could always be improved....

I still like checking out gear, but I don't spend nearly the amount of time on it that I used to. I'm pretty happy with my tone, so these days I just play. I can remember times when I felt like I wasn't playing well because my tone was lacking, but now I can't blame bad solos on my tone anymore. The tone is OK, I'm more concerned about improving my note choices.

Hi Scott,

I bought all 4 videos you announced on your website. I've gone through each multiple times... and need to go through them many times more. There is a TON of info packed into those videos and the ideas, teaching and transposing could keep me busy for YEARS to really learn everything you crammed into those videos.

I've bought a LOT of guitar instructional materials but I think those 4 videos I got from you had the most value I've ever gotten from any instructional materials I've ever purchased.

If you would have charged twice as much I would still consider them a bargain because of how much value you provided. Thank you!

My question is this:

Have you ever considered doing a membership site similar to Jimmy Bruno's instructional site here?:

If you did a site like that (you already have at least 4 videos you could post there) and posted a couple videos a month, I think a LOT of people would sign up and gladly pay $20 to $30/month to be a member and learn from you. (I bet a lot of people from this discussion board would sign up immediately.)

BTW, since internet marketing is my day gig, I'd be interested in helping you get this project going. And maybe even investing in the start up costs, too.

Just an idea. It seems to be working out pretty well for Jimmy Bruno.



Thanks Dan, I'm happy you dig the lessons! About your offer, I appreciate it very much and might consider it in the future, but I imagine there's some time involved in maintaining a website like that and my teaching thing is way on the back burner at this point. With a seven year old and two puppies, I'm lucky if I get time to write tunes, which is my first priority.

Hi Scott,

Question 2:

And actually with all the touring and traveling you do, this is a very real posssibility.

Let's say you're in a strange city far from home or even a different country. Just as you finish setting up and sound checking your rig, a bright blue light coming from above envelops your entire rig and guitar... and all your gear disappears.

You hear a booming voice from space say, "I am Xenu. As punishment for ridiculing my mindless slaves.... er, I mean my beloved followers... I have stolen your gear and given it to the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard. It will NEVER be returned! Mwah ha ha ha!" (Stereotypical evil laugh like all the other cartoon characters and fictitious figures.)

There is a Fender dealer nearby who carries everything in the entire CURRENT Fender line, guitar and amps. They also have the typical pedals carried in a Guitar Center (Tube Screamer, etc.) but no boutique stuff.

To most closely approximate the rig stolen by Xenu, and now being played by the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard, what Fender guitar, amp and what pedals would you select so you could do the gig?



P.S. The ghost of L. Ron says he'll give your rig back if you promise to pass out free copies of "Dianetics" at all your shows... or donate $100k to the nearest Scientology center. lol

Xenu DID transport my rig into the sky! Well, it wasn't actually him - it was one of his drones in sector seven, Chick Corea. I walked into soundcheck one day and saw that my speaker cabinets had been suspended about 6 feet in the air on wires! Apparently Chick thought I was playing too loud and decided if my speakers were up in the air, I'd hear myself better. I don't know whether to blame that dumb idea on Scientology, or just on a keyboard player who's clueless about guitar tone. Luckily after a terrible soundcheck, my speakers were returned to Earth for the gig.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'd get a Hot Rod Deville, and if I'm allowed to change the speakers, I'd put Celestion Heritage 65's in it. I'd get an Eric Johnson or comparable model strat, but the pedals are the tricky part because I have no idea what GC carries. If I couldn't find a Maxon SD-9, I'd get a Tube Screamer and a Roger Mayer Voodoo 1 and use them together. Hopefully they carry the Xotic RC Booster - if they don't I'm out of luck because in my opinion there's no such thing as a good boost pedal which isn't boutique.

Detroit in September w/ Jeff Berlin and Mike Clark! finally a concert in my hometown. still buzzing from your appearance at jazz fest a few years ago w/ the trio. Will it be mostly standards a la the trio w/ DC? Is this part of a larger tour? Any chance of a release?

We're playing the same music, and the dates are posted on my site. No recording date is set at this point.

Hi Scott.
First I'd like to say that I admire your playing and sound!
I have too many questions, please answer what you can...
1. Do you use headphones for practicing? If yes, do you plug them directly to the PX5D, or something else? What's the headphones model?

I don't use headphones much because I practice pretty quietly. I have Sony V900 headphones for watching movies and listening to music on the road.

2. Do you still recommend the PX5D over other modelers?

For my purposes I like it better. It doesn't have much dynamic range or feel like a real amp, but I can get closer to the sound of my mic'd up Marshall with the PX5D than I can with Axe FX or Eleven.

3. Did you try the new Scuffham S-gear amp modeling?

No, but I checked out the demos on their site. Pass. And even if I liked it, Windows only? WTF??

4. Did you try the Paul C Timmy pedal, or the Himmelstrutz Fetto pedal?

Those are two of the million pedals I've never heard. I have a friend in the pedal selling business, and he carries just about everything. I trust his ears, so every six months or so I call him and ask him to send a few of his favorite new pedals for me to try. That's how I first heard the PlimSoul. If he doesn't send it, I'm not that interested in hearing it. Maybe those two pedals will arrive the next time I ask him.

5. Is there a chance you'll come to Israel in the near future?

We were supposed to play there earlier this year, but it was cancelled. The flights at that time from Frankfurt to Tel Aviv were so expensive that we wouldn't have made a decent fee. We'll try again in 2012.

Hi Scott,

Did you ever have to endure this? (skip to the 1 min. mark)

I once had to do something like this (and in a jazz context no less), and I found it to be one of the most humiliating things I've ever had to do. I dislike dancing in general, but I have developed my own style called "Cynical," which basically involves mocking the movements of other dancers while they are not looking. Try it sometime, it's fun!

Luckily I was out of there before that nonsense started. Chick is very comical in the sense that he feels he needs to do stuff like that to get over. All it does is alienate the fans of his great playing and make it even more obvious that he's a victim of Scientology.

Anyway, what I really wanted to know was your thoughts on where live music is headed. Personally, I love playing live, but it's not really paying off exposure wise. On YouTube, however, I've had more exposure in two years than I've had in my entire guitar-playing history (over 100k views). I would almost say that putting up performances on YouTube is a better use of time for a new artist than playing in crappy venues where no one listens anyway. Your thoughts?

Thanks for answering my questions, and know that I will always support your music.

- Dave

I'm touring a lot this year so from my point of view, live music is alive and well. But I'm one of the lucky ones who started touring very early, and being a sideman for many years with famous bandleaders got me a lot of exposure. I realize that now it's much harder for new guitarists, and YouTube is a great way to get the exposure they need.

The bad side of YouTube is people posting performances you don't like, but that's easy enough to fix by just filling out a copyright form, and if you fill out enough of them like I have, you get to join their Content Verification Program. On my YouTube, there's a checkbox next to every video. All I have to do is check it and hit delete, and it's gone in 30 seconds. Feel the power!!!

That being said, I apologize for not putting any new stuff up on my YouTube channel in awhile. I have four live DVD's to check out, and I'm sure there's some stuff from them I can post - I just haven't had time to do it yet.

Hi, Scott
Have you tried roasted maple neck? What about it?
What do you think of John Suhr's preferred wood combination: bass wood and maple top for body and roasted maple for neck?
Are you coming to Brazil? Thanks a lot.

Sorry, I've never heard the roasted maple neck - that's a question for John. That wood combination would be too bright for my style of playing - John uses much less gain than I do. For blues or cleaner tones, those woods are great.

About Brazil, I'll just be honest and say that Brazil is one of my favorite countries to play in, and absolutely the biggest pain in the ass in the world to get to. It's easier to go to the moon than Brazil, because of the bullshit visa agreement between Brazil and the US. A bunch of meaningless red tape and childish behavior on the part of both our governments. If you knew what we have to go through to get a work visa for Brazil… well, to start, make FOUR trips to downtown LA in rush hour traffic since the embassy closes at 11 AM, not to mention the 20 page application, passport photos, etc. So excuse me while I extend a big middle finger to the Brazilian government, and also to whatever branch of the US government is responsible for this crap. We don't need a visa even to go to Columbia, or any other South American country. Hard to believe, but I've had three tours (!!!) in Brazil cancel at the last minute, simply because the Brazilian promoters didn't get their paperwork to the LA Brazilian consulate in time for us to get our visas. I love you guys, but let's face it, you're not known for getting things done on time. Smile Anyway, I'll always keep trying to get there, because the people are warm, friendly and love music, the food is awesome, and I love the vibe there. I've been a big fan of Brazil since I played there with Jean-Luc Ponty back in the early 80's.

Hi Scott!

What 's your opinion about the roasted maple neck by Suhr?
I see that you use the normal maple for your guitars.
I 'm about to order a new guitar and I 'm a bit confused about it. Unfortunately no roasted maple neck available where I live(Athens,Greece), so no chance to try it myself.
Your comment will count!

As you read above, I'm no help on this one… I'd just call John and ask him what the sound difference is before ordering - he's very easy to reach.

Hi Scott,
In the past you used to play with Mesa 2:90 power amp. This power amp has 3 modes: deep, half drive and modern. Did you use them? Which did you use for the clean sound and which for the lead sound?
Thanks a lot

Sorry, it's been such a long time - I didn't even remember that the amp had three modes. All I can say is I've never used a deep switch on any amp, and we played loud so I'm sure I didn't use the half drive.


I really like your Boss SE-70 guitar synth patch.

Would you please share your settings?

I think you mean the multi-tap delay patch. By calling it a guitar synth patch, it sounds like you may not know how it works. It's simply a multi-tap delay, and you need a volume pedal to use it. If you played a picked note, it would just sound like a bunch of jumbled delays, but if you roll into the sound with the volume pedal, you don't hear the taps and it sounds kind of like a synth pad. Chorus is also an important part of the sound.

Before I give you the SE-70 settings, be aware that this is an extremely poor imitation of the real thing created by Alan Holdsworth. His settings are for use in stereo, which makes a HUGE difference. He gave his settings to Yamaha for their UD-Stomp - even though it's out of production, you can still find his settings on the web, which you can use with computer software delays such as Waves SuperTap. I have my own stereo recording settings for this sound - check out Rituals on the Well To The Bone album. As I said, playing this sound in mono is a big letdown compared to stereo, but it gets the job done. My Arion SCH-1 chorus pedal is always on when I use this patch.

Algorhythm: 20Tap Delay
Delay On, no EQ
Delay Time 1: 100ms
Pan 1: L100
Delay 1 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 2: 230ms
Pan 2: L100
Delay 2 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 3: 460ms
Pan 3: L100
Delay 3 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 4: 190ms
Pan 4: L100
Delay 4 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 5: 330ms
Pan 5: L100
Delay 5 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 6: 560ms
Pan 6: L100
Delay 6 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 7: 570ms
Pan 7: L100
Delay 7 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 8: 600ms
Pan 8: L100
Delay 8 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 9: 750ms
Pan 9: L100
Delay 9 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 10: 870ms
Pan 10: L100
Delay 10 Tap Level: 100
Delay Time 11-20 0ms
Delay 11-20 Tap Level: 0 (off)
FB Delay: 350ms
FB Level: 30
Bass & Treble: 0
Direct Level: 0 (By the way, this patch, and the whole SE-70 itself is useless without a mixer)
Effect Level L: 100
Effect Level R: 0
Master Level: 90

Hi, Scott
Did you already try Scumback speakers?

Yes, during my search last year to find speakers to replace my worn out Greenbacks. Luckily I discovered that the new Chinese Greenbacks sound just as good as the 90's ones. Of all the speakers I tried, the Scumback's were by far the best. They're not trying to clone Celestions like everyone else seems to be doing. They have their own sound, and it's really good. I ended up going with the Greenbacks because I'm used to that tone after so many years - the Scumback's are a bit darker sounding, but not by much. They're definitely great speakers.

Do u recording with 2 mics or a single one?

One - a Shure 57. My recording room sounds good, but it's small. Room mics sound better in big rooms. TJ Helmerich told me, solo the room mic - if it doesn't sound good by itself, it's hurting your tone, not helping it. That's good advice.

Hey, the girl from Ipanema waiting for u dude, come to Brazil !!

I'm sorry to say that I just received the October tour schedule and Brazil is not there. I'm not surprised, because of the difficulties mentioned above. I've only done one South American tour with my band which included Brazil. My agent could call up Argentina and book a show two months from now, as he could in most South American countries. A show in Brazil would have to be organized at least six months in advance, and it's difficult to juggle those time differences. The good side is, there are enough cities in Brazil to do a short tour there, and I'll beg my agent to keep working on that.

What amp are you using on those Equinox videos with Andy and Rufus at that small place where you're sitting down? Is that HRD? So the distortion is mostly SD-9 on those videos?

Yes, the HRD with a Celestion Heritage 65 speaker. The amp is on the clean channel, but there's a little distortion in there. The pedal I'm using for the video on the front page is a Fulltone Octafuzz, and the other version of the tune is the SD-9.

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