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Scott answers your questions - round 2.25 - 11/04/11

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StarShip Captain

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

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.25 - 11/04/11 Reply with quote

Hi Scott.

In previous posts you said that the SD '59 is a pickup with lots of mids.
I find that strange, because even in tone chart of the SD's website it is listed as one of the LEAST midrangy humbuckers...

That's because they make extremely midrangy pickups. The '59 is their clone of the old Seth Lover PAF pickup which first appeared on Gibson Les Pauls. If you wind a pickup more than that, you start getting out of blues territory and into that piercing sharp tone that the metal guys dig. They need it, because on metal albums the drums and bass are always the loudest instruments, overly loud in my opinion, so the guitar would be lost in the mix without tons of midrange. Listen to a shred record and then a Jimi Hendrix or SRV record and you'll hear that their tone sounds huge in comparison. Guitarists like Mike Landau and myself follow that tradition by featuring the tone of the guitar on our records as well as the playing. One of the factors in doing that is easy - turn up the guitar in the mix. Then you won't need to ruin the natural tone of the guitar with overwound pickups. When I listen to shred records, and don't get me wrong, I like some of the musicians, but the first thing I notice is how small and thin the guitar sounds. There could be several reasons - running amps at 16 ohms, using light strings, turning the tone knob on the guitar up too high, and overwound pickups.

Have you tried other Suhr humbuckers like DSV, SSH+ etc ?

No, because they're wound more than the SSV, which is his version of the PAF - it has a bit less mid than the '59. Just personal taste, but I like the '59 on my Les Paul, and the SSV on my SG and Suhr. Actually I just finished the new Tribal Tech album and never used a humbucking pickup once.

What about the Suhr Michael Landau pickups ?
Thnx for helping!

I like the ML pickups with open back cabinets - that's my live setup. The ML pickups are just a little hotter than the V60's, which I use for recording with my closed back 4x12.

Got a Tyler in your stable?

No, I'm sure they're good guitars but I've never even played one.

Hi, Scott,
what's the model of your Hot Rod Deluxe?

They make a cheap one and a much more expensive one, like a vintage Deluxe clone with no FX loop. Mine's the cheap one - it cost me around 500 bucks at Guitar Center.

and why do you use it instead of the Badger?

The Badger is a great amp for blues, but not the best for high gain. Nothing bad about that particular amp, but it's class A, and most class A amps have a similar character - a little scooped, chimy on the top end, and missing thick midrange. I love that sound for blues, but for the type of gain I need on stage, only a class AB amp will work. I used my HRD on the states tour in September because my 100 watt Suhr would've been overkill for the volume we were playing.

Have you heard Vince Mendonza? Isn't he a great arranger/composer?

Yes, he's a great musician.

Hi Scott
What s Sd 9 settings whem u use HRD?
Great tone !!

Same settings as with my Suhr head - volume all the way up, dist about 2 o' clock, tone up just a little to the first black mark. Sometimes if I want more gain, I add the RC Booster with the volume all the way up and the gain all the way down. The RC is before the SD-9.

Hi Scott
Couple of gear questions:
1. I think about changing pickups in my Les Paul to Seymour Duncan Jazz in the neck and '59 in the bridge like I've read You are using in Your LP. Do You have them in covers or without? Is there a big difference in sound between the ones in covers and the ones without them?

A huge difference. Humbuckers are already bass shy compared to single coils. If you put covers on them, the bass completely goes away. There's a small amount of high end loss as well. Some people like covers, because they do make the pickup a little smoother sounding, but in my experience, that subtile difference isn't heard in the mix nearly as much as the extreme loss of bass caused by using covers.

2. I also think about changing the speaker in my Fender Blues Junior. I've read You are using a Herritage 65 in Your Hot Rod Deluxe because it has more wattage than the Greenback. But Fender Blues Junior is only 15 watt. If You were to change the speaker in it would You still go with the 65 or would You put a Greenback instead?

Best regards!

I'd use a Greenback. I think it can handle 15 watts.

Hi Scott I wonder if you've tried the Eleven Rack with the expansion pack ? If yes - What do you think about it ?

I haven't heard it, but from what I read on their website, it doesn't address the major problems with Eleven, like a badly modeled 57, poor choices of speaker placement, and really bad choice of pedals. I'm not saying it doesn't sound like a real amp, because it does, but compared to a mic'd up Marshall, forget about it.

What happened with your collaboration with Avid?

I offered them the chance to sample my recording rig - '71 Marshall, Kerry Wright 4x12, perfectly tuned room with Primacoustic panels, and someone (me) who knows how to properly mic a cabinet, as opposed to the person they used, who doesn't. I never heard back from them, so I guess they think Eleven sounds fine and doesn't need improvement.

Will Tribal Tech tour Sweden to support the new CD ?
Thanks for the music Scott !

Tribal Tech is no longer a touring band. Willis lives in Spain and has his own trio, my concentration is on playing trio as well, and Kinsey is in three different versions of his own band (I'm in one of them). I have no idea what Kirk Covington is doing and I'm OK with that. Just kidding, we've patched up our differences. He sounds great on the new record, which will be released in early 2012.

In this economy, touring with a trio is hard enough - a quartet just won't pay the bills, and as I've mentioned before, playing trio is more musically challenging.

Ciao Scott,
hope you're doing fine and in good health

could you update us a bit about the status of the new TTech recording and if there are some recordings coming out as your 'Progressive_Blues Trio' or a guest (I remember I read somewhere a possible Live cd from the Jberlin/DChambers tour), or maybe Kinsey's next solo album?

Thanks a lot, take care!


The new TT album is mentioned above. I'm in the process of writing for a new solo album but I'm on the road a lot and have a very busy family life at home, so it's taking awhile. I hope to have enough material to record after the Spring 2012 tour. We hope to record the HBC trio in February. Kinsey finished a new Human Element album but I'm not sure if it's out or coming out very soon. He also recorded a trio record with Willis and Hungarian drummer Gergo Borlai but there's no release date yet.

Hi Scott,

Though you might be interested in checking out the links below. Would love to hear your comments on these videos.
Hope you enjoy,


No thanks on the videos - I've played with him a few times with Scott Kinsey's band. He's very fast.

What's Your opinion on Ash bodies and Maple fretboards?
Best Regards

I had an ash strat many years ago. I didn't know much about tone back then - all I remember is that it was extremely heavy. I'm not an expert on ash so the weights might vary like they do with alder. Swamp ash is usually very light, but that's a completely different tone. I've tried maple necks but don't like them for my particular style. They have more midrange than rosewood necks, and you can hear the pick more. My opinion is that they're better for a more twangy tone, for country or rock. The rosewood neck adds a nice warmth and sweet top end, and seems to be preferred by most blues players.

Hi Scott,

recently i bought a SH100 .What a great amp,i love it.

Could you tell me your amp settings?loop level?


presence 6 bass 0 middle 5 treble 4 volume 6 gain 7. The bass on 0 only works if your cabinet is sitting on the floor, not on wheels. I don't like bass from the preamp - it's more like low mid which is woofy sounding and horrible on the neck pickup. If you set your cab directly on the floor, especially a 4x12, you'll have plenty enough bass. Also, I use an EWS Subtile Volume Control in the loop, which is usually at about 1 to 2 o'clock, so that's equal to playing the amp at 3 to 4, except for those moments where I really blast and the knob is all the way up - then the amp is really at 6, which is LOUD. I keep the loop level at 12 o'clock.

Hi Scott,

I just had a few questions on the following

1. Sound; What's your thoughts on finding your own sound?

Your own voice on an instrument is the combination of tone, phrasing, and vocabulary. I've always worked on all three equally, from the very beginning. Usually a musician develops his playing style, while experimenting with tone until he finds a sound which makes playing what he plays the most fun and inspiring. That's about the only way I know how to put it. It takes years of listening, playing, and experimenting for most musicians to find their own voice, but the one bit of advice I can give is, don't listen too much to your favorite guitarist. Listen to horn players, piano players, singers, etc. The more variety you can get into your playing, the bigger chance that you won't sound too much like someone else.

2. From the Tribal Tech album "Spears" on the track Carribean, were you using a Harmonizer in the studio to get the 'parallel voicings' while playing with Scott Kinsey, or did you just double up on the guitar track? (Haha sorry this probably was some time ago)

It's a harmonizer, set down a fourth. If I play a C on the E string and an A on the B string at the same time, the C creates a G, and the A creates an E. From the top down, you get C, A, G, E. If you improvise on a scale using major and minor thirds, you get close voicings which would be impossible to play that fast on guitar. It's a fun trick.

3. Is there a piece of gear that sold and thought later on "Shit, why did I do that?"

I wish I'd kept my original SG that I played in the 70's, but I'm pretty sure my new one sounds just as good if not better, since it has much better pickups. It's more about nostalgia than tone.

Hello Scott.

What do you think of Tommy Emmanuel?

Thanks a lot.

He's brilliant - I've seen him play a few times at MI. His material is a bit inside for my taste, but he's incredibly musical and dynamic, and gets the best tone from an acoustic guitar I've ever heard. Plus he has insane chops. I'm quite sure he's brought the acoustic guitar to a whole new level. He's taken the legacy of Chet Atkins and built his own thing on that, like Hendrix and Albert King, Jeff Beck and Les Paul, Michael Brecker and John Coltrane - I love to see musicians who know their roots and then push even further to establish their own voice.

Hello again.

Do you know anything about the following wah pedal:

"Bob Bradshaw of Custom Audio Electronics designed the MXR MC-404 CAE Dual Inductor Wah Pedal with the Crybaby design team to create a highly versatile wah-wah with top-grade components. The MC404 CAE features dual Fasel inductors with 2 distinct voices (high-end emphasis or low-to-mid resonance), and a built-in MXR MC-401 Boost/LineDriver that adds even more flexibility."

Have you tried one or do you have any info or opinion?

Thanks again.

I haven't tried it, but I'd like to hear how it compares to mine. Bob knows what he's doing so I'm sure it sounds great.

Hi Scott,

what do you think of Andy Timmons and Steve Morse?

Thank you for your wonderful music.

See you in Rome next october 23rd!


Both great musicians. Steve is known more for his writing and great playing within a band, while Andy is more of an improviser - he's a great rock player, but I've played with him at GIT and he can play over changes and seriously throw down on some blues. I saw Steve Morse with the Dixie Dregs many times - what a great band. I'm a fan of both those guys.

What do you think of Daddarios prosteels strings?
I find that they are more responsive and have more output than the nickels strings!

Steel strings might have more output than nickel strings, but they're also brighter, so they're not for me.

Hi Scott!!

Thanks again for the time you take answering our questions!

Really looking forward to the new TT album:-)

All finished! Should be out in January!

Are you planning a new blues record?

Yes, but I need another 3 or 4 tunes. I plan to finish writing for it when I get back from this tour.

Will you attend NAMM in january?

No, I'll be touring South America with my trio at that time.

What are you listening to these days?
...I am all over John Scofields Blue Matter and Loud Jazz for the moment..
All the best to you and yours!!

I let my iPhone tell me what to listen to - it's always in shuffle mode. I have a HUGE variety of music in there - rock, blues, jazz, fusion, pop, country, classical - I never get bored. My favorite musicians are still Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, so if I need inspiration, those are the guys I listen to.

Scott, don't let the organizers rob you of a chance to try some
of Sarajevo's famous traditional sweets (if you're into stuff like that).

I'd go for Tufahija (Too-fuh-hee-ya), Ratluk (turkish delight in millions
of flavors) and some Baklava... They're bound to get you all pumped-up.

Best regards, and see you in Sarajevo.

Because of our schedule, I don't even know if I'll make it out of the hotel except to play the gig. Lobby call is 4AM almost every day for the last week of the tour. But I'll try!

I was at the jazz trio show in Buffalo and introduced some friends to the music(out of which two girls).
They came up with a visual image of your playing which was "floating aliens", i added "over exploding hydrogen tanks", after remembering hearing a phrase from Saturn 5 in your solo on Mysterious Traveller.

The questions:

1.Have you had a critic giving you or the band you were playing with a bad review and pissing you off?Or do you ever read articles like that?

Only for comedy purposes. The critics always seem to like my records, but I have reviews of live gigs that are hilarious. Some of the critics are intelligent about music and point out valid things which were wrong with the show, but the funny reviews are usually written by people who simply hate my style of music in general, usually jazz purists. Some of their opinions are priceless comedy. One guy in Jakarta hated us so much that he got personal - "the concert was started with an extremely loud synthesizer sound played by an extremely large Scott Kinsey". He also wrote "the electric bass of Gary Willis reminded me of another bass farteur, Jaco Pastorius".

2.Is it bad if you listen by mistake to a christian rap tune and you like it?:

Wow, some rap I like - cool! I listen more to the music than to the lyrics anyway.

3.What type of music is more appropriate to listen to when you're working with heavy machinery?


4.What kind of music would you recommend for trying to get a girl?

What kind of girl? Christian? Slut? Trans-gender? Earth Mama? MILF? Please advise.

Have you ever tried impressing a girl with your music, maybe when you were younger?

That used to work when I was a rocker. Now that I play fusion, it's like trying to impress the Iron Chef with a Big Mac.

I did once and she liked more than 3 TT tunes in a row and even got intimate, so i had to marry her, but she doesn't like TT anymore.
Thank you for the great music and hope to see the trio or TT(if ever) in Toronto or Montreal, maybe at the jazz fest.


She got intimate while listening to Tribal Tech? I hate to be the one to tell you this, but it's possible she was born a man.

Hi Scott
I hope you are doing fine! We met in Switzerland at your gig in Schaffausen with the trio last May…. simply GREAT!!!

A gear question:
I follow your tone search since '90ies (I still have my first 3 TT records original in vinyl Wink.
I use a pretty simple setup: my suhr pro s2 -> boss cs3, vox wah, exotic rc, xotic ac+, arion chorus -> then the se70 for digital delay and reverb -> then I go into my Fender '65 reissue twin reverb.
I don't use pre-amp distortion, but only the ac+ when I seldom play with a dirty tone (I assume the preamp tubes still not-saturate when I engage the OD pedal).

As learned from you, I don't want the ADC of the boss se70 to suck my tone, however the Twin doesn't have fx loop (and say I don't want to change or mod the amp).
I read all your posts about this subject and I'm trying to use the same concept although I'm playing the fx in front of the amp.
Therefore I use a small mixer (it is dedicated to guitar fx blend). I can mix the dry signal out of the last pedal and the SE70 (which is full wet), and then run the output of the mixer directly in front of the amp, using the lower impedance input (600Kohm).

The tone I get sounds good to me… this should be enough. Still I wonder if I'm doing something dumb using the mixer in front of the amp or if I'm making even worse using a too high signal level (out of the mixer) for the tube amp input (supposed to receive instrument level).
I'm searching around for a even better mixer that has a output level control (i.e. the wetbox from thegigrig)…. but still I would like your expert opinion if I'm doing something totally non-sense.
Thanks a lot for these decads of music, teaching and guitar tone vision! Still my hero!


I can't say if you're doing something wrong unless I hear it and think it sounds bad. There are many ways to run your gear, but if your amp doesn't have an FX loop, you don't have much of a choice but to do it the way you're doing it. Also, it depends on your style of playing - if you seldom use a dirty tone, then this seems to be working for you and if it sounds good, don't change it. You're definitely wise to use a mixer with the SE-70, because that thing will surely ruin your tone without one.

Running reverb/delay in front of the amp is only a problem if you use high gain, because the distortion plus the effect is too much of a load on the preamp and the sound gets muddy. Many great blues solos have been played with an Echoplex going into the front of the amp. (Tommy Bolin's solo on "Quadrant 4" on Billy Cobham's "Spectrum" album is a great example.)

Hi Scott
Thanks again for yestarday concert in Poland with Jeff and Dennis. You guys were really amazing! I hope You will come back soon
And a gear question: how is the JCM 2000 you played yesterday compared to your Suhr amp? And how did You make those strange "ghost" sounds?

Best regards!

The more I play that amp, the more I like it. It's not quite as warm sounding as the Suhr, but it does the job fine. Actually I might have to stop bringing my Suhr on the road, because airlines keep dropping their weight limit lower and lower. We'll soon be at the point where it'll cost too much to bring it, and then I'll have to insist that I have a DSL 2000 at every show.

The ghost sound is great isn't it? Perfect for Halloween! It's an Octafuzz and multi-tap day (see Index) used together with a volume pedal.

Hi Scott,
If a major pop star will ask you to go in a world tour for one year and pay you 5-6 time what ever you make now in one year will you do it?

5 or 6 times what I make is still not much. Make it 50 and I'd consider it.

Great show at Jonny's D in Boston I don't know if you read all of this, you don't need to comment.

I already did on page 8 of the thread.

Have you try the Timmy Or Tim pedals?

Answered in 2.24

Thanks for all yours answer to our silly questions.

A fan....

Hi Scott I was at your concert with Berlin and Chambers 2 week ago in Italy (Bellaria).
First of all let me say how awsome you played!! Beautiful concert
I would like to know how you obtain the lead sound you had on Fee Fi Fo Fum, or Actual Proof, is just the amp with the RC Booster?

That's it, and a little delay.

And What about the sound in the Weather Report Medley?

If you mean the synth type sound, it's the SE-70. Check the Index

Where did you use the SD9 only?
Thanks a lot and hope to see you soon in Italy

I use the SD9 only on the more rock tunes where I need more gain, like the slow blues at the end of the night, and also where I want more of a horn type sound, like on the encore Footprints.

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