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Scott answers your questions - round 2.27 - 2/18/12

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Joined: 14 May 2004
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Location: Boulder, CO

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:53 am    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.27 - 2/18/12 Reply with quote

Hi Scott.
Thank you very much for answering our questions!
In round 10 (from 2005) you wrote "the only 2 pedal distortion combination I use is the Tube Screamer into the Voodoo 1, which I like even better than the SD9 by itself".
Do you still use this combination in recordings, or you're using your sd9/klon/plimsoul pedals instead? Why did you choose not to use it live (like together in a looper or somthing)?

My comment in round 10 pre-dates the RC Booster with my bass mod in it. The Tube Screamer/Voodoo combination is more of a boost/blues sound than high gain, and for blues playing I do like it more than the SD-9, which is a high gain pedal. I stopped using the TS-9/Voodoo combination because I like the RC Booster more.

Hi Scott,

1-In the last Q&A, you said about guitar finishes: "the less paint, the better".

Have you ever tried a guitar with no paint, just an oil finish on the wood?

No, but I asked John about it. He doesn't think it's a good idea because the wood wouldn't be protected enough from the elements. He recommends a clear thin coat at the least, like what they use on the back of their necks. I might try it, since it's definitely less paint than normal and I'm curious about how it would affect the tone.

2- Have you ever tried playing (or writing) in alternate tunings?
Thanks for taking the time to do these Q&A's.

No, I have enough trouble with the regular one.

Hi Scott,
It was a shock for me to see that instructional venues are no longer viable to you. I have all your instructional stuff and they continue to be a part of my musical growth. My questions:
1- What do you think about doing videos/PDF instructions yourself and simply sell on your website for download? you would totally cut out the middlemen/distributor route.

I already do video lessons from my website, but they're for advanced players and cost 150 bucks. If you're a beginning or intermediate player, my instructional DVD is only 25, and covers all the improvising tools you need, plus teaches phrasing. When my two videos were re-released by Alfred Publishing on one DVD, there was a good boost in sales and I'm making a bit of cash from it. Sometimes enough to afford sushi!

2- A tone question: I love your recent Suhr clean tone, especially for soloing, it's clean but always beefy without breaking up too much, but there's a bit of dirt. Is the secret comes from using a boost? Like your RC booster? if so, how would you set up the amp and the RC?
Thanks as always for the inspirations.

Yes, it's just the amp with a little crunch, and a boost pedal like the RC. Set the amp so it's crunchy when your guitar is on 10, and then add the pedal with it's gain set to whatever you need.

Hi Scott,

I have a few gear questions for you...

I know you use the badger 18 only for homerecording,
and the badger 30 is not your thing.
Are there any plans to get you a 2nd smaller amp from suhr,
(for small gigs and rehearsing) which sounds similar to the SH 100 ?
Maybe a badger 30 with a different, more classic voicing,
SH 30 or OD 30 Classic, something with more gain than the HRD ?

John's been collaborating with Jim Kelly on an amp which I think is around the same wattage as the HRD. I'm looking forward to hearing it. I made it through a US tour with the HRD, but it's drag that the crunch channel sucks, and the clean channel doesn't have enough gain.

Which Kerry Wright 2x12 Cab do you own,
is it the upright 30x19x12" (like Mike Landau)
or the offset 26x25x13" (like Adam Stark)
or do you have your own shape ?

It's the offset one - it has a bit more bass than the upright.

How do you like the Suhr Badger Cabs 1x12 & 2x12,
did you compare it to the Kerry Wright ?

I haven't heard the 1x12, but the 2x12 sounds good. That being said, it's not fair to compare them with Kerry Wright cabs, which are hand made by the best cabinet maker in the world, with the best wood available. They weigh half of what other cabs weigh (but they're three times as expensive). Nothing sounds as good as a Kerry Wright cabinet.

What do you think about a 2x12 slant, open back cab ?

I've never heard one, but I love my 4x12 open back slant - it's not as good for recording as my straight closed back 4x12, but my small recording room could be a factor in that. Live, it's a huge improvement over a closed back slant, which sounds pretty nasal and midrangy in comparison.

BTW. your tone on the Song Tore Down House,
is still the holy grail of tone for me !!!!

Hope I see you soon in Austria,
and thanks for your time.

All the best

What's the deal with the headstock on this Suhr? It looks like you put a little too much graphite powder on the nut
Does the guitar stay in tune better with graphite powder on the headstock? Or whatever that is? Does it have more bass?
All the best!

I don't put in very much, but after every night on tour, the headstock gets pretty black. It doesn't change the tone - it just stops the strings from hanging up in the nut, which helps the guitar stay in tune, and gets rid of that pinging noise when using the bar. A tip - NEVER use any kind of wet lube on a nut, because nut material is porous, and eventually the lubricant will soak into the nut and ruin it.

Hi again Scott!

So recently i had broken my vibrato bar and a part of it is still in the steel block and just won't come out. I have decided to get a new block and replace the old one with it but in case this ever happens again - how do you deal with this kind of situations? I use the Fender Vintage Bridge.
All the best!

That brings back horrible memories. If you go to the Images section of my web site, there's a picture called Broken Vibrato Bar, showing me and our soundman Gec trying to get what's left of a broken bar out of the block. I've been lucky a few times and managed to get it out, but I carry a spare block and arm - that night I had to change the block between sets.

I don't have that problem anymore because I use a thicker, stainless steel arm from the Ghoto 1055 bridge. I've been using them for many years and never broken one. It's a push-in arm, so I had to go to a machine shop and have it threaded, the block threaded with a bigger hole, and the hole in the top plate drilled bigger. It's a pain in the ass, so I had ten bridges done at once - it cost around 500 bucks. To do one bridge, a machine shop would probably charge around 100.

Hi Scott,

I was wondering what settings you use on your Sun Face.
Thanks man, looking forward to the new Tribal Tech record!

That's a bias setting, and it's position depends on how high the tone is turned up on your guitar. The higher the guitar tone, the higher you can turn up the knob. If you roll the treble down on the bridge pickup to around 4 like I do, the pedal starts sounding woofy if the bias is set higher than 12 o' clock.

Scott how high are the pickups on your suhr? Would it be possible for you to post measurements or perhaps a photo? The reason I ask is because I have recently bought your suhr signature model (what a fantastic guitar!) and I when I'm playing I tend to rest my arm on the strings and sometimes the low E string hits the magnets one the middle or bridge pickups and that produces a "bump" noise. I wonder if this is because of the pickups height (I bought the suhr used so they may not be set to the factory standards) or maybe the problem is my picking technique?

Again thanks for answering all those questions. Can't wait to hear the new TT album.
All the best!

Ok, I have found the measurements in round 2.22
Sorry, forgot to check the index! Disregard the last question

That Index is awesome - thanks to the folks who helped me put that together. I can't believe how many subjects we've talked about on this forum over the years. I even got to publicly bash Scientology, which I consider a great privilege.

Do you have any thoughts on the sound in relation to parallel versus series speaker cabinet connection. I have a badger 18 and I'm thinking about making a 2x12 cabinet with some 16 ohm weber 1265 or celestion 1265. I'm guessing that I would get the best sound using the 8 ohm output on the Badger and thus the parallel type connection. What is your opinion on this? Should I go for two 8 ohm speakers in series instead?

I always forget which is which - forgive my electronics stupidity. The important thing to know is, amps sound better at 8 ohms than 16 or 4, so get two 16 ohm speakers and wire them to 8 ohms. Go from the positive on the jack to the positive on both speakers, and the same for the negative side.

Hi Scott, good to meet you in Manchester. Just noticed your comments re Class A amps and have always avoided Class A amp 'sound'. Any amp I used with an A>A/B control always ended to the A/B end, but i recently got a VHT Special 6 Ultra head which sounds unlike any Class A amp I've tried. Much more 'rocky' and hooligan sounding. It has a simple power scaling which seems to assist in sounding more A/B-like. The full schematic is included with the d/l pdf manual and it seems like a very modded Champ:-

I tried some other VHT amps, and they had a very 'Wayne Krantz' type sound, which I liked, but I couldn't dial it out. I was expecting the Ultra to be similar but it was tonally more versatile. It has a lot of gain from a single 12AX7 and 6V6.

I'm now thinking typical Class A sound is more to the amp designer's intent and Class A/B typical sound is more down to asymmetrical distortion than A vs A/B (if the A is designed for more asymmetry).

Obviously A/B is more suitable and efficient for that sound at gig levels but for recording there's probably some asymmetrical Class A designs which will compete with twin-triode A/B or 2xeEL84/2x6V6 A/B o/p designs for similar tones.

Cool. I didn't mean to say that all Class A amps sound the same, but I've yet to hear one which could deliver the amount of thick sounding mids of a Marshall or Fender. But you're right, these days good designers are able to take their amps into whatever tonal direction they hear, whether their amps are Class A or A/B.

My Badger is Class A, and it sounds nothing like the Matchless I used on Dog Party, which is what I consider the "typical" Class A tone. I can hear an obvious difference between the Badger and my Marshall, but I've used the Badger for sessions and people still ask me if I used a 100 watt head. It's the biggest tone I've ever heard from a low watt amp, so Class A is alive and well.

How did the tsunami in Japan affect the people living there? I need help for my assignment on Japan tsunami! Please help me!

Honestly I wasn't there long enough to know first hand. I didn't see the tsunami or the damage it caused, except on the news. I only felt the earthquake, but that was pretty scary. There's one thing I can tell you - on the 19 hour journey in our van from Sendai to Tokyo, a trip that would have normally taken 3 hours, the Japanese people on the road were calm, polite, and extremely organized. We never heard one person blow their horn. If that had've happened here, I can only imagine the chaos.

Hey Scott,

Have you seen this?

Yes, I sent him a brief but polite letter explaining that Mango Prom Music is actually me, and I don't have time to write letters to people who post my concerts on YouTube. He wrote me back saying it was a lame excuse and he wasn't buying it, then accused me of hiding behind a fake name, and ended his reply with "fuck you, asshole". I guess he doesn't understand that Mango Prom Music is the name of my publishing company registered with YouTube. Anyway, I wrote him a more "from the heart" letter and I hope it helps him and his kind understand the musician's point of view:

Update: I just saw on his site that Julien, a friend of mine in NY, wrote a negative comment on the video, and this idiot thinks Julien is me! WTF??
Also, I now realize that he never recieved the letter below, because I guess he blocked me. Whatever, maybe he'll read it here:

You're a whiny little bitch. Grow up and learn how to respect other people's rights. Even with "NO RECORDING" signs clearly in view, there are always a few camera monkeys in the audience who record my shows and post their crappy sounding videos on YouTube. Cheap camera mics distort and pick up little to no bass - I hate the sound of those videos so I remove them, sometimes 5 or 6 a day when touring. I used to write letters to each and every person asking to have them removed. Most of the time the video stayed up for weeks before I got a response, and sometimes I got no response at all. Then I'd have no choice but to go to the copyright section of YouTube and fill out a long ass form to get rid of the videos.

YouTube now has a "Content Verification Program" which most pro musicians belong to. The people at YouTube realize (as you apparently don't) that IT TAKES A LOT OF TIME to write letters to the MANY people who post videos, especially while on a tour. Members of the program don't have to fill out long copyright forms anymore. Our YouTube page has a checkbox next to each video - we check the box, hit delete, and the video is gone. I didn't invent this - YOU TUBE DID. They made it easy for us to remove videos put up by idiots like you who think they have the right to break copyright law and post them without permission.

If I knew you'd remove the videos immediately if asked, I WOULD HAVE ASKED. Sadly, you're in the great minority. Most people who tape concerts and post them on YouTube don't give a shit about what the musicians think about it. I apologize for counting you as part of that group of people if you're not, but after dealing with this for years, it's a lot easier to hit delete than write letters which usually don't do any good.

I can name dozens of musicians in the Content Verification Program who wouldn't waste a minute of their time writing to YouTubers and asking them to remove videos. They're happy to check a box, hit delete, and go on with their lives. Why should we waste our time asking you to remove videos, when you can't waste a minute of your time asking permission to post them?

Here's a quote from the YouTube copyright page. "YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and publishers and REQUIRES all users (that's you, asshole) to confirm they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder to upload content." They're basically telling you to prepare for a penalty if you post illegally, but you ignore the warning and post anyway, and then have a temper tantrum when you get a CR hit.

Maybe you guys continue to do it because there are many musicians who don't mind - they want the publicity, no matter how bad the video sounds. I don't mind the publicity either if someone posts a decent sounding video I approve of, and the simple way to do that is write me and ask - that's how I got some of the clips for my YouTube channel.

I have to admit - your video, however deranged, is entertaining. Especially your vocabulary. A few years in charm school might help. I loved the Jesus part - he's pissed at me anyway because he bet on New England and I have his 20 bucks. Keep your Fuh-Q posted if you still don't get it. Judging from the comments, it seems no one agrees with you.

Hi Scott,

what did you think of Landau's new record? I thought it was good.

Ever discussed doing a record together with him? That would be kick-ass. Or a Jazz-fusion version of G3.

Landau, Henderson & Holdsworth


I haven't heard it yet but I'm sure it's great. I'm in Japan now but when I get back to LA I'll work out a trade with Mike - his record for the new Tribal Tech. I'm sure his guitar tones will be far superior to mine as always, but I'll get over the depression as soon as I can. Mike's a genius on the guitar - everyone should go out and buy his record right now!

I'd love to do recordings with other guitarists, but the problem is coming up with the material. It's hard enough to do that for our own records.

Hi Scott!

1) I know you played with SD Allan Holdsworth pickups. I made a little research in the internet and the guys at SD's forum told me that the AH pickup is a JB with double screws.
Then I saw you saying that they were double screws '59.

So, what's the real story here ? Is there only one SD AH model or yours were a prototype or something like that ?

Back when I was using those, they were '59s with double screws, and that's what Allan was using too. He could have changed to JB's later, but I don't have any info on that.

2) Why is your slant 4x12' cab OPEN BACK ? Tell me more about it. How does it differ from a regular closed back slant ? Does it have more bass ? If so, what's the reason for that ?

Answered in Round 41, but I'll add this: A closed back cab is very directional and kills people sitting in front of it, as well as makes the band hard to mix for the soundman if the cab is pointing in his direction. An open back cab spreads the sound around more, producing kind of a "3D" image on stage. Drummers I play with prefer open backs because they say they can hear my rhythms more clearly and don't need as much guitar in their monitor.

3) Do you use 500k pots with your humbucker guitars ? With a HSS strat too ?

Suhr guitars with a humbucker and single coils on the same guitar use a wiring which runs the volume pot at 250k when using the single coils, and switches it to 500k for the humbucker. You need one of those big "four switch in one" 5 way switches to do it.

4) Have you ever tried tube overdrive pedals ? what's your take on them ?

Check the INDEX under PEDALS/tube distortion pedals.

5) What is the point of using overdrive pedals in front of dirty amps ? Don't you like more a 100% tube signal ?


I like amp distortion - I've used it on many records, but it's more of a woofy type of distortion which works better for the bridge pickup, while the right pedal can get a fat and clear tone from any pickup. When using a pedal, the amp is "crunchy", meaning there's some distortion when the guitar is on 10. "Dirty" describes a more gainy sound which could be used for a solo without a pedal. Most blues players use a crunchy amp with two pedals, a boost pedal to just drive the amp a little harder for more compression and sustain, and an overdrive or distortion pedal with more gain, for more rock or horn-like solos.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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