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Scott answers your questions - round 2.21 - 2/25/11

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Joined: 14 May 2004
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Location: Boulder, CO

PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:11 am    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.21 - 2/25/11 Reply with quote


I had the good fortune to catch about 5 minutes visiting your counseling today.

You were using Blue and Green as an example and using your "six pianos" concept of moving up from one string as a chord tone and constructing a voicing based on that. It appeared as though you were going strictly vertical though I can't be sure.

Quick question based on that method:

Is it your feeling that eventually the player can move to intuitive muscle memory to thread through a cohesive, and hopefully musical solo rather than exerting the mental energy of every time going, "OK, what is the next nearest chord tone when this chord is coming?...Oh, it's the #11 which is two frets higher."

I guess the question is, how/when do you believe the player is ready to stop intellectually thinking in these terms--we'll say words or phrases--and start thinking intuitively about musical ideas/concepts--that is to say "not thinking." To (paraphrase a ) quote (by) Joe Zawinul, "Thought stops where improvisation starts."

Thanks a bunch.


That's exactly like asking, at what point is a person ready to start speaking English and only concentrate on the statement, not the words? The answer is, when the person has learned the words well enough to not have to think about them anymore.

Hi Scott,
it's great that you share some of your time answering our questions.

Here it goes my question:
do you remember, in your student days, of some exercise (just a single one) that a teacher taught you and you had an "AHA" moment? I mean an exercise that you felt that really opened your mind, or forced you to really learn and understand some aspect of the instrument. For example I'm thinking of an exercise that you once explained in an interview, where Joe Diorio had you playing chord tones through changes on just a single string. I'm sure that exercise really forced you to learn the notes in every chord and connect them in a melodic way without relying in the typical shapes. Any other one that you remember?

I hope to see you play again in Barcelona. It's been a while since your last gig there.


I've had so many "AHA" moments as a guitar student, I can't remember feeling that one was more important than another. That being said, the concept of looking at the guitar as "six pianos" and learning all the chord tones on each string is very important to any guitarist who wants to improvise through chord changes.

Now it's 20 years ago since the Scott Henderson - Gary Willis - Tribal Tech (1991) album was released "Boy that went FAST".
How was it recording that album?

I love the vibe on that album, there is that magic thing to it,
Similar to the Heavy Weather with Weather Report album "another godly brilliant album!!!

Best Regards KB

Check the Index under ALBUMS - I talk about the Tribal Tech album in several posts.

Why do you use a separate mixer in your FX loop (serial, I presume), instead of using a parallel FX-loop? Shouldn't it give the same result?

Yes, but you can't use a volume control in a parallel FX loop. I like to be able to change my volume without affecting my gain, so my volume control needs to be in the FX loop.

Hello, Scott. Were you asked to play on the tributes to the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis? Was that something you would have been interested in doing?

I wasn't asked to play on the Miles Davis one, but in general, anytime someone offers me money to record, I'm interested. I was asked to play on the Mahavishnu song "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters", so I gave it a try. After about three hours of recording, I realized that I suck at playing over a 19/16 time signature and felt I had nothing worthwhile to contribute to the tune, so I called Jeff Richman and asked him to find someone else.

Hey Scott .. in the last round you said you were listening to a lot of Weather Report ... just was curious what your personal top choice cuts from their discography would be? And .. out of all the music you've recorded throughout your career ... what are you the most proud of.
Thanks again & i can't wait to hear the upcoming TT album .. and hopefully something can be worked out in the future with Dennis & Jeff, an album of you guys stretching out on a selection of covers would be great!

That's a hard one because I love so much of Weather Report's music. Night Passage has been my favorite album for a long time. I could write a book about the great moments in every one of their tunes.

As far as my music, I'm not proud of any of it - that's why I never listen to it. All I hear is what I did wrong.

Hello Scott,
You've been a major influence on many things from harmony to phrasing and tone.
About your sound and playing, i saw you in a lot of different venues in europe as well as in the states.
i remember a night with my wife in Los Angeles, we came by La Vee lee to see you play with Scott Kinsey and i had the Bad idea to chose the table right in front of your 4x12!! you were playing so loud that we could not finish our pastas..

The question is, since you play kind of loud, yes you do!, do you feel having some ears trouble, acouphene or so... and have you ever noticed any signs of troubles?
I do have acouphenes due to playing right next to a horns section..

I'll have to defend myself on this one… I'll agree that I don't play as soft as a hollow body jazz player, but the stage volume is determined by how loud the drummer plays, especially on a small stage. Many times I've had to play with ridiculously loud drummers, playing way too loud for the room. I put a lot of guitar in the monitor, and still have a hard time hearing myself over cymbals crashing in my ears. Also, closed back 4x12 cabinets are very directional, and I wouldn't sit in front of one even at medium volume.

Now I use a 4x12 open back cabinet, and since I started using it, I've never had a complaint from any soundman about my stage volume. I have Alan Hertz playing drums in my trio now. Alan and Dennis Chambers are two of my favorite drummers when it comes to dynamics. They know how to play the right volume for the room, and I never need to turn my volume control past 2 o' clock with those guys. That's like playing my amp on about 3.

The ear problems question was answered in 2.20.

Hi Scott!

I have two questions:

1. Here is a tune I wrote

I am getting mixed feedback about the composition itself. I would be thrilled if you would take the time to check it out and say what you think of it.

I don't usually do this, because I'm not a music critic, but I think I'll be helping you with my opinion, so here goes… I don't think there's anything wrong with the composition itself, but the performance sounds stiff. It sounds like you guys are reading a chart. You all need to put more "grease" on the notes. Anything would help the guitar performance - a Univibe would sound cool, some tremolo bar vibrato on some of the chords, or picking the strings in different places for some chords. It just needs more color in general because as is, the performance sounds too flat and one dimensional, which hurts any good composition. You guys are good players so a little work will easily fix the problem.

2. Did you finally try that EWS modded Arion chorus? My original Arion is dying and I'm wondering if the EWS is a worthy replacement.
Many thanks for your time!

Looking forward to the new Tribal Tech record!

All the best!

If they're selling a modded SCH-Z, don't buy it! It doesn't sound anything like the original, so try to find another used SCH-1.

Hi Scott,

Last time i was at your masterclass 21 feb. in Maasdijk
Netherlands @ was great.

You mentioned one irish guitar player that plays jazz. What is his name? and is it correct that he has no theoretical background?

I was probably talking about Philip DeGruy, but that's not an Irish name - Phil is from New Orleans.

Last question... do you have all the suhr guitars that you owned?
Where do you sell your gear.. on which site.. because it would be a honeur the buy a guitar that you played..

see you in may...

greetings jos

I don't sell my Suhr Guitars. If I no longer like the guitar, I give it back. I don't think it's ethical to sell things that were given to me for endorsement. Many pedal companies have sent me pedals to try, with no return required. If I like it, I mention the company in the thanks section of my records. if I don't like it, I give it to one of my friends to try out.

Hi Scott!
In previous posts you said the SD '59 are good pups. I have them in my Gibson LP, I find the bridge pup a lot nice, a bit bright, but nothing you couldn't handle with the tone knob.
On the other hand, in the neck position I find it a little bassy and sometimes boomy. In overall tone, I think they'r not balanced.
Have you ever come across this issue with them ?

Yes, I experienced that too - that's why I use a SD Jazz pickup in the neck position of my Les Paul. Much clearer sounding.

My current amp gear is a Fender HR Deville and a Marsall DSL.
I replaced the tubes on the HRD with JJ's and they sound great, now the next move is to replace the speakers. I was considering the Celestion g12 65, but I'm afraid loosing that sparkly high end of the Fender and get lots of honky mids. Do you think its gonna happen with this speaker ? If so, what others speakers you recommend for this amp ?

I can't answer the comparison question because I'm not familiar with the speakers that come stock in the HR Deville. All I can say is that I have a 65 in my HR Deluxe and I love it. Mike Landau used to have 65's in his HR Deville's, but I heard he changed to Tonespotters. I guess they must be as powerful as 65's, so the only way for you to know for sure is to try them both.

With the DSL, when I set my RC Booster the way you do, the tone is very interesting, but I get some noise due to the higher gain on the pedal, and also some noise with the volume knob. Does this happen to you too ?

Thnx for helping!

No, mine seems to be pretty quiet. Maybe you're using more gain on the amp than I do - I set the gain on a DSL to around 6. The noise on the volume knob could be just a dirty pot.

1. If you were doing a harder rock gig -- ACDC, Journey, Skynyrd, Ratt, etc. -- would you use your same rig or make some changes? Would you switch to a bridge humbucker?

Yes, I'd use a humbucker, but my rig has tons of gain and could easily do a metal gig.

2. For clean, quack-funk sounds, do you prefer a 1x12/2x12 instead of 4x12?

Yes, I usually use the 2x12 for rhythm parts - it has less bass and stays out of the way of my main melody/solo tone.

Hi Scott~
I always thank you for your kindness toward your fans here.
I could see your name on the list of bogner amp artists on their website. ( --> Terrifying Guitarist) I do know bogner amp is not your main gear, but have you ever tried any bogner amp(s) before? Any thoughts on them?

H.LEE from NY

I like Bogner amps, at least some of the ones I've heard. Bogner is a different kind of amp company than Suhr - John makes an amp and doesn't change it much unless asked to by a customer, while Bogner seems to never make the same amp twice. That's an exaggeration, but he does like to change things around pretty often. Most of the Bogner amps I've seen have more switches on them than other amps, so there's a bigger learning curve, but more versatility. He's got a healthy dose of mad scientist in him, but a great person, and like John, knows the shit out of electronics - he can make subtile changes to the tone and will bend over backwards to make you happy with your amp. He's definitely up there among the top amp builders.

Hi scott, we always see you play with a strat "type" guitar, i found a cool picture of you (with a nice haircut) playing a Gibson SG..i was wondering if you still play the SG..or any other models of guitars..Tele, Les Paul,..Xplorer
And also, since you play Suhr's guitars and amps oriented to vintage flavours..i was wondering if you were into real vintage and if you had some in your collection.
Thanks for you precious time!

I have a Tele, Les Paul and SG, and I use them for recording. I don't care at all about vintage guitars, and my own ears have proved to me many times that all the hype about them is bullshit. Vintage guitars are wildly inconsistent - some are great and some suck. Because of great modern luthiers, and because of the astronomical prices of vintage guitars, they've become more popular with collectors than real players. I know more about strats than other guitars, and I've had enough 60's strats at my house to know that there was only one which I thought sounded better than my Suhr, but that was before I got some of my lightest guitars from John, so I'd like to do that particular A/B test again.

Hi Scott,

There is a quote from you on the Fulltone websita about the Plimsoul pedal.
Have you replaced the SD9? or is it just another pedal in your collection you use to record, but not gig with. Landau is also quoted on there.

I love the PlimSoul, but it won't replace my SD-9. The PlimSoul is bigger sounding than the SD-9, but it's not as good for legato playing. With the SD-9, all that hairy noise in between the notes disappears like magic, and even with high gain, notes on the neck pickup are clear and punchy. I don't know any other high gain pedal which sounds as clean as the SD-9 and that's why I love it so much. But the PlimSoul sounds huge, and is EQ'd very musically. I'm sure I'll use it a lot for recording, especially on the bridge pickup - awesome pedal!

Also, I use an open back cabinet on stage, and pedals which sound great in the studio with a closed back cab and a 57 don't always work in the live rig. I also use different pickups for recording and stage - I use ML pickups live, and V60's more than ML's for recording.

Hello Scott.

I read from your aswers that you find the Eminence Tonespotters Mike Landau uses on his Fenders too bright.
Then again Landau thinks the Greenbacks are too bright for him.

Do you know the Tonespotter well enough to compare the two speakers?

Eminence says the Tonespotter is their take on the G12-65, so can you compare those to?

Thanks a lot.

Sorry, I don't know the Tonespotter well enough to compare it to other speakers. I put one in my 4x12, didn't like it, and took it out. I remember thinking it was pretty bright, but I don't remember if that's the exact reason I didn't like it.

Scott, I am new to your music. They are great! So bad that I missed your concert in HK last year.

I'll be playing in Hong Kong in March. Check my web site for the dates.

I read on this forum that you own a Line6 M9. How do you think about it? what's your favorite setting?

Thank you.

I love the M9 - I think it sounds even better than the individual FX modelers, and I had them all. It's so cool that multiple FX can be used together - those Line 6 guys are amazing.

Scott, sorry my ignorance, but what fender(?) model is this you play?
if i see well, there is no pickguard, right?

That's the first guitar John Suhr made for me, when he was master builder at Fender. The guitar has a black matte pickguard so it's hard to see. Seymour Duncan '59 pickups and Wilkinson bridge.

Hi there!!!

I was at the NAMM show in january...I tried the Mad Professor Old School 21 amp...Best amp I have ever heard!!!!!

Have you tried this...or other Mad Professor amps or stomp boxes?

...If you havent...check them out...I think you'll love them!

Hope to catch you when you get to Norway again this May.

I've heard of them but never played through one. I checked their website - it looks like high quality gear.

You mentioned a while back that you tried the 11rack and where working to get it to the point of usable for you, to get your tone, what's happening with that? is there a Henderson update in the future? it would be fun to see what a guy like you could do with the modeling? and as always we all know that tubes will not be replaced, I am mostly curious to what you use for practice at home to get a decent sound.


I don't want to rag on Avid, but I offered them the opportunity to sample my Kerry Wright 4x12 cab with brand new Greenbacks, in a perfectly tuned room with Broadway Acoustic panels, along with my expertise in properly micing a speaker cabinet. I won't brag about my playing, but I know how to mic a cabinet. The guys at Avid never took me up on my offer, so it's their loss. Whoever did the modeling of the 57 in Eleven totally fucked it up and it's very fizzy sounding. Some of the other mics sound good, but the 57 is my favorite mic, so I can't get anywhere close to my personal tone with Eleven. I use the Pandora PMX-5 for composing and practicing. It doesn't have the dynamic range of Eleven or Axe FX, but it sounds fatter and closer to the sound of my mic'd cabinet for 1/4 the price. For more info on the PMX-5, check the Index under Gear.

Have you ever tried a Fender 347 Heavy pick? It almost feels/sounds like using the rounded side corner of the Fender 351 Heavy picks. Do you use the premium celluloid or regular?

Premium. The 347 is too small for me - I'd be dropping it all the time.

The journalist Anil Prasad who has interviewed you in the past recently in an interview said this:

There are a lot of ways to quietly or not so quietly build up your audience. I think ultimately it's a good thing. I think the major label structure has been largely negative for artists financially speaking right down to concepts like never owning your own masters, slave labor-like contracts that span decades often specifically designed to ensure that the artist makes no money from the recordings, and for their families to never benefit from them. I think the washing away of that structure is a really wonderful thing. Having said that, a lot of those labels used to do some work to help get the word out. Obviously the benefit was the distribution, and sometimes the advertising and awareness. Now that's often the responsibility of the artists themselves. So if you're willing to do the work it's a really great thing. If you're not willing to do the work you have a problem on your hands.....

If we're going by this pile of 50 or so different jazz and fusion new release CDs that I have on my desk right now, mostly on independent labels, mostly from artists that are not household names, the future seems pretty bright to me. I think real musicians have to make music independent of their economic circumstances and independent of their perception of how they're going to make a living at it. Real writers write, real musicians make music. Whether fame or fortune awaits them, they're going to play music, they're going to have a home recording studio, they're going to put stuff out, they're going to gig wherever they can gig, and the stuff's going to get out there. And there's always going to be a percentage of people willing to pay for the privilege to access this material.

I think the era of a Return to Forever or a Weather Report playing to 20,000 people like a big rock band are permanently over. Those days are gone. What you're describing is definitely niche-oriented music. I'm not trying to downplay the fact that it's a challenge. I think you're going to see even more musicians who have day jobs. I have a day job. If I want to do Innerviews the way I want to do it, have it look like it does, be at the level that hopefully it's at, I have to have another source of income to make that happen. One of the most prestigious independent jazz labels out there today is run by two guys who have day jobs. So, even some of the guys who run the labels have to do other stuff to make a living.

Maybe we're going to this part-time model. I know a lot of major jazz guys, even progressive rock guys that have day jobs just to keep hand to mouth. It's a compromise on one side where they have to bring in this other source of income. But on the other side it means they can make whatever music they want without having to worry about that music propping them up economically. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is in the eye of the beholder. You've seen the bumper sticker that says, "Real musicians have day jobs." That just might be the way it is going forward. If you're lucky and you get a real break and you catch fire, maybe you can transcend that and turn into an artist who can do it full time. That would be the greatest of all circumstances. But I think the reality of it is that people have to come up with a hybrid model that works for them given the economic climate.

It's a pretty negative outlook but I can't completely disagree with him. It's hard for everyone in this economy, especially the entertainment business. Musicians who play mainstream music feel it, so of course those who play eclectic music feel it even more - but no one can predict the future. For all we know, jazz and fusion could make a huge comeback and a band like Weather Report could become popular enough to play large venues. There are many factors contributing to the problems of the recording business, but most of them are about economics rather than the tastes of the public. There will always be an audience for eclectic music, and in a better economy that audience is always stronger than in times like these. Regardless, I'm touring more this year than ever, and I'm extremely happy with the budget we got for the new Tribal Tech album, so I don't have a negative attitude about the business, and from what I've seen on other musician's websites who play jazz and fusion, they're not doing so bad either. I try to keep a positive attitude - my goal is to put my daughter through college someday with the money I earn playing music I love.


Last edited by kirk95 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent, I read it with great interest, I will be glad to see such messages and news further
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Scott, I hope you are doing well. Your each post gives us a good message so i never miss to read your any post. This post is so amazing and i like it so much. On the behalf of i would say you to Thank you so much. We can write an essay on your post.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thx for this!
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