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Scott answers your questions - round 2.30 - 9/21/12

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:15 am    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.30 - 9/21/12 Reply with quote

Having transcribed Weather Report parts recently for your HBC project, are you still seeking out stuff to transcribe at this point? Or are you doing it out of necessity for a project?
I find this interesting since you obviously don't need to actively transcribe anymore compare to your early formative years.

How little you know about my extremely limited vocabulary… lol. Every time I hear Chris Potter or Seamus Blake, (and many other great saxophone players), I'm reminded that I should be transcribing 24/7, but then I wouldn't be able to make a living. Most of my music time is spent composing and working on my own stuff. If I wasn't a working musician, I'd be a full time student, transcribing all the musicians out there who have 10 times the vocabulary that I do.

Hey there
You get an amp that doesnt have master volume and there's only gain. So for instance i want just a little amount of gain and i find my sound. Just right there. Now depending on different setup and instruments i need to lower or boost the volume of my sound and i dont want to change any setting of my amp, what can i do? Does ews subtile volume control pedal do the job or the highest you can get is the amp's highest and if i want to go louder i have to turn the gain knob? Because if you want to go lower in volume sure it does the job but what if you want to go louder than the amp already is?
Or would an attenuator do the job? What im asking i guess is what's the best way to boost my amp output volume. Or maybe the only way to go is get an amp with both gain and master volume knobs?

There's a language problem here because there's no such thing as a non-master volume amp with a "gain" knob. There would only be a "volume" knob for the entire amp, which would increase volume and gain at the same time. The Subtile Volume Control is not active - it can't make your amp louder than it is. You didn't mention pedals so I don't know if you use them - a boost pedal can make your amp louder if you want to have two amp settings - one using just the amp and a louder one using the boost pedal.

Also what do you think of jim kelley's 60 watts amps that suhr is now selling? Have you tried them?
You are really helpful. Thanks a lot !

Yes, it's a great sounding amp, but not my style. It favors the mids and I'm more into the sound of the Marshall and Fender designs which are more full range. It's easier to turn up the mid on those amps if you need it than it is to lower it on an amp with no mid knob like the Kelly. That being said, the amp is totally sweet sounding and built like a tank.

Scott, from your teaching and other musical experience, do you think everyone has a character or something interesting in their playing, or are some people just completely hopeless?

In this day and age, the word hopeless doesn't exist in any form of the popular arts. If you're talking about real art, some people just don't have any talent, but that doesn't mean they couldn't be successful, or even become rich, doing popular art. We've all seen pathetic examples of terrible playing, acting, etc., which somehow became very popular with the masses. So I would never tell a student who I thought was talentless to give up music, because if he ends up in the right place at the right time, he could make more money playing music than I have, especially if he has a good "image".

I've also found that if someone has played for long enough (and provided they're decent players), the style in which they talk and play begin to sound the same to me, am I insane?

No, you're not insane. Great players share a common musical vocabulary at a certain level, but if you listen more closely and more often, you start to hear the differences between them. When I first started listening to jazz saxophone, I thought it all pretty much sounded the same. I never had that problem with guitar players, since I'd listened to them from a very early age and could easily hear the difference between Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore. But sax players - I couldn't tell Parker from Coltrane. Now that I've listened to sax players almost as much as guitarists, I hear huge differences between them in tone, phrasing, and vocabulary.

Hey Scott ,
I was just reading the last answers. So do you think that even with the Badger 18 miked up in a moderate size club with an 1/12 cab would not cut through the mix of like a 7 piece band? With an RC helping out... how about with a 4/12 Cab ?? Like if you were stuck in a small club with that head would you still try to do the gig with it.? (sorry im getting creative . haha) . This archive should be every guitar players bible!! Thanks again you are truly an inspiration!!

It really depends on your drummer. The Badger 18 turned all the way up through a 4x12 is about right for a small club if you have a drummer who plays soft. If you're playing with Kirk Covington, he's going to hit his snare once and obliterate your whole rig. I'd go at least 35 watts for gigs where the drummer plays at a medium volume.

what's the measurement on your Suhr's action these days? Would you have different action heights on different guitars or do you try to set them all the same?

I set them all the same - 1/16'' from the bottom of the string to the highest fret.

Hi Scott, congrats on the new Tribal Tech album, it's amazing!
You said that you wrote 3 tunes and so did Willis and Kinsey, on the cd it's nowhere specified who's the author of each tune, i can only read that u 3 are the producers...can u specify that?
Can't wait to hear you with Berlin and Chambers!

We don't take credit as individuals for the writing since most of it came from the jams. As producers, we added to what was already there. My three tunes were Mech X, Got Faith N' Phat, and Palm Moon Plaza. I overdubbed a lot of new stuff, except on Palm Moon Plaza - all I did on that one is have Kinsey overdub the acoustic piano at the end. We're proud of that tune because that's pretty much the way it went down in the studio. Listening to it, you'd never guess that it was a jam, but we're not mind readers - we were calling off chord changes to each other as we played and got lucky that all the changes worked. The Tribal Tech approach to composition is a lot of fun since the tunes are brand new to us from the basic tracks - everything feels fresh because we're not recording tunes that we've already played many times on the road. Overdubbing is a more creative process since it's not just fixing mistakes, but composing over music that happened in a very organic way. It was great to do another record with those guys.

Kinsey produced Working Blue, Gravity, and Ask Me A Question. Willis produced Anthem, Time Lapse, and Let's Get Swung. Corn Butter was left as is from the basics except for a wah wah overdub and adding the voices of some of our Japanese friends.

HBC will be released October 16 - Jeff and I have a joke between us that this is the best record of our careers because we didn't write any of the music.

Hey Scott!!! Just wondering ive been hearing a lot about this germanium experience fuzz pedal.Made by Berkos FX. i know he made like 50 of them. i heard some audio of it and i was just blown away!! i also heard he is working on a silicon version of them too. Hopefully i can jump on one of those. My question is do you have one of these pedals? Have you ever tried one? If so what did you think? i know that Mr Landau has put it on his new pedal board.
thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions!

Yes I have one and I think it's awesome. That being said, it won't take the place of my SD-9 on the pedalboard, and Mike went back to the SD-9 on his board too. The fuzz is a different animal than a regular distortion pedal. It's thinner on the high notes, so for my "horn-like" style of playing, that doesn't work. Also, germanium pedals are more likely to pick up interference like radio stations, etc. The Germanium Experience is fatter sounding than the Analog Man Sun Face when turned up, but the Sun Face cleans up better when turning down the guitar volume and is better for that slightly overdriven Hendrix style chord playing. My other fuzz is the ZVex Fuzz Factory, which is my favorite of the three because it's the wackiest. I used it on the HBC album on the song Mysterious Traveller - that pedal rocks!

Hey Scott.
When you take an improvisational approach to writing songs, is it difficult to keep them from all having the same feel or sounding similar? What do you do if that starts to happen?

That's my (and every other composers') biggest fear - writing the same song 100 times. When it comes to tempo and feel, once you've written as many tunes as I have, it's hard not to go back to similar territory, so I need the rhythms, melodies and harmony to be different enough from previous songs to make it happen. I have a pretty good memory for chords, and when I write something that sounds like something I wrote before, I immediately recognize it. The problem is, that happens all the time and it's getting more and more difficult to come up with fresh sounding material.

Wish I could be more help, but to answer your question, when that starts to happen, it's back to the drawing board with the rest of us.

Hi, Scott,
I'm from Brazil and we are known for having a very rich popular culture (music, dance, food, etc) but with every passing year it seems that the radio an tv try to spread the worse that's been made. Is it the same in US? It's all about the money or they're trying to make us stupids?

Yes, it's the same in the US, and yes, it's all about the money. Advertising pays for radio and TV, so to keep the audiences as large as possible, the programming needs to be as popular as possible. Unfortunately popular doesn't always mean good.

Hi Scott,
Did you try the Kemper profiling amp?

No I haven't heard it. If it's a real amp, maybe I'll check it out. If it's an amp modeler, speaker simulator, or attenuator, no thanks. I've made about ten trips to UPS in the last year sending back "the best of" those devices. I'll be the first one to say that the current technology is beyond amazing. I tried a speaker simulator that had surprisingly natural dynamics - I could play notes just as soft, or just as loud, as I can with my speaker cabinet. That's a first, and that's saying a lot! Unfortunately, the tone of the IR's in the device, including the IR I created of my own rig, couldn't compete with the real thing. Attenuators can sound OK as long as they're not turned down below the first notch. After that, ALL of them change your tone, and not in a good way. One notch doesn't bring the volume down all that much, so they're useless to me. Amp modelers - forget it, that technology has a long way to go. I've tried Axe FX and Eleven and I'll admit that in the tracks, they do sound like a real amp, but a great one? I'd have to say no.

Using a real tube amp and cab gives me a fatter and more natural tone than any device I've tried to date. The downside is, if I'm recording after 10PM, the neighbors are likely to call the cops. The 18 watt Badger has really helped - it sounds huge and I can use it at 4AM without waking the family or disturbing the neighbors. I'd recommend the Badger any day over any of the current gadgets out there.

Hi Scott, did you tried the new Badger 35 & and would it be a possible live amp (smaller venues) for you ?

Yes, it sounds exactly like the 18 watt Badger, just louder. I like it much more than the 30 watt. That being said, Badgers are class A amps - they're best for bluesy tones, and class A/B amps are better for high gain. My HRD can't come close to the Badger for blues, but I play a lot of jazz and fusion on my gigs so the Deluxe works better for me on stage.

Hi Scott,
will you be selling the new HBC album on your october tour in europe?

No, we're not allowed to sell it before the release date, but I'll have X for sale.

Hi, Scott,
Listening to your tone you don't sound exactly vintage, it seems that there's a twist in it, is it right?
Thanks, Zep

It starts out as vintage - the basic Strat through a Marshall tone. My guitars are new but they sound vintage. I guess the twist comes from using more modern effects.

Hi, Scott,
Are you into graphic novels, comics,Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow?

No, no, and definitely yes.

Hi Scott.

Have you had the chance to try the Vox 846 Handwired wah or the CAE/MXR MC 404 wah pedals?
If so, what is your opinion?

Haven't heard them - I'll see if they're at True Tone next time I'm there.

Hi Scott,
Seen you play many times in L.A. Have to say your recent gig at the B.P. with Rufus and Andy was incredible. You played like it was the last gig you'd ever play on the planet, very inspiring.

Just wanted to ask you about the sound you used for your solo on 'Mysterious Traveller' and also throughout 'There Is No Greater Love.'
It's a tone that probably makes jazz purists sick to their stomachs and one of my all time favourites! How are you getting it to be so out of control and yet in control at the same time?

Also really digging Tribal Tech's 'X.'


Thanks for coming to the gig! Thats the Z.Vex Fuzz Factory - it's awesome! You can set it so it freaks out when you turn the guitar volume up and down. Finding the right volume setting on the guitar can make it "sputter", making notes come out clearly or weird, depending on how hard you pick. I spent some time tweaking it, and now the settings I use work most of the time, but it's still a very unpredictable pedal.

Hi Scott and thank you for answering all our questions.

I am looking so much forward to your new album. Berlin and Chambers are truly awesome musicians.

What guitars did you use on the recording?
All Suhr strats...or did your tele do some of the action?

I used Suhr strats on the whole thing. Usually when I do a lot of layering, I use my Gibsons or a strat with a humbucking, but for some reason I didn't feel the need to do it on this record, probably because I used different amps, mic placements, EQ's and effects to keep all the parts out of each other's way.

Hav you tried the new Ernie Ball Cobalt strings??
A lot of output!! I love them!!!
Thank you for being an the biggest inspiration a guitarist can have!!

I'm a D'Addario guy and totally loyal, so I wouldn't try any other string. Speaking of that, I was talking to them recently and the subject of all the string quotes on my albums came up. Just for the hell of it, here they are.

Tribal Tech/ Tribal Tech - 1990

Scott Henderson uses D'Addario XL strings, but Gary Willis would rather use GHS Progressives.
Tribal Tech/ Illicit - 1993

Scott Henderson continues to play D'Addario XL strings, while Gary Willis wouldn't think of using anything but GHS Progressives.
Tribal Tech/ Face First - 1995

Gary Willis thinks Scott Henderson is a fool for using D'Addario XL strings, while Scott Henderson thinks Gary Willis is a chump for using GHS Progressives.
Dog Party - 1995

There were no GHS Progressives used in the making of this recording. However, there is a strong possibility that they may be used in the making of the next Tribal Tech record.
Tribal Tech/ Reality Check - 1997

Willis: If I had to put D'Addario strings on my bass, I'd give up music and become a drummer.

Henderson: GHS Progressives suck.
Tribal Tech/ Thick - 1999

Due to the current restraining order and pending litigation, Scott Henderson and Gary Willis are prohibited from publicly or privately discussing any of the alleged altercations and property damage resulting from their use or non-use of D'Addario or GHS string products.
Tribal Tech/ Rocket Science - 2001

Henderson: I use D'Addario strings, even though they've never used me in one of their ads. I bet GHS would.

Willis: I use GHS strings because 10 years ago they used me in one of their ads.

Henderson: All strings are made in the same factory. I use D'Addario because they put a fancy name on their string packs. GHS is a stupid name. I don't know what those letters mean, and that scares me.

Willis: I use GHS strings because they told me what the letters mean.

Henderson: GHS strings made my guitar catch on fire. I use D'Addario, but they caused radiation sickness. There really is no safe string to put on your guitar.

Willis: I try to avoid using strings whenever possible but I keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Henderson: D'Addario strings make my amp 39% louder.

Willis: GHS strings are great for hanging plants and make a nice garrote.
Well to the Bone - 2002

Scott Henderson uses D'Addario strings blah, blah, blah...
Live! - 2005

Scott Henderson uses D'Addario strings and that's just not funny anymore.
Tribal Tech/ X - 2012 (In 2002, Willis defected over to D'addario)

Although Gary Willis has been using D'Addario strings for nearly ten years, Scott Henderson bought strings directly from Donato D’Addario in 1680.
HBC - 2012

Scott Henderson is under treatment for D'Addario string abuse.
Possible quote for next album -

I started using D'Addario strings because I thought I could help people... but it turns out that mosh pit fatalities at my gigs have actually gone up since I switched to their .011 set. Sexually transmitted diseases and male pattern baldness have reportedly been on the rise among my fans since I began using the soldered ends for tremolo set. However, I still believe D'Addario strings cause far less pain and suffering in the world than other brands.

Hi Scott.

I see you have switched to a Vertex Axis wah. What was the reason for the change and how do you like it?
Also, what kind of mods did they do on your Arion chorus and Boss volumepedal?

My old wah wasn't working very well and needed an overhaul, so Mason asked me to check out his wah before I sunk money into fixing mine. The Axis was the better choice - it's fatter sounding, and has a frequency adjustment knob so you can pick your favorite tone when the wah is all the way open. He didn't mod my Arion except for putting new knobs on it, but he does have a mod for it that I'll try in the future. He did mod my Boss FV-500L volume pedal and what a difference! He took out a bunch of unnecessary circuitry which I don't use, and put in some higher quality parts - it sounds more open and clear.

Have you checked any new gear recently (pedals, "Creambacks", ...)?

Thanks a lot.

Yes, I definitely have, and the experience inspired this rant: Don't believe gear reviews in guitar magazines!!!! It's my firm belief that the only possible explanation for reviewers to give great reviews to bad gear is because they're being paid to do so. The only other explanation is that they're just completely clueless!! I subscribe to Mac Life magazine - if gear sucks, they give it a really bad review. All the gear reviews in guitar mags are positive to the point of gushing. I read those reviews and go wow, I gotta try this!! So, I actually do, because I live in LA and we have True Tone Music. That's where I find out that many of those rave reviews are bullshit. And I don't mean "matter of personal taste" bullshit. I mean noisy, not well built, generally sounds like crap bullshit. Sure, there are exceptions, but I'll tell you this - if you're bummed out because you live in a small town and you don't have access to the latest boutique pedal which was raved about by a guitar magazine reviewer, don't worry about it - there's a huge chance you aren't missing anything. Many boutique pedals are built in garages by knuckleheads who can barely play guitar, and just make crude copies of well known pedals. If a musician you respect says something good about gear, then it's at least worth checking out, but don't be fooled by positive reviews in guitar magazines!!!

The Creambacks are on a ship on the way to NY. Hope to hear them soon!

Hi Scott,

got my first Suhr and it has a Fender bridge on it. when I set it up so that it stays in tune, there is some play on the outer screws so that when I pull the bridge along the side (arm pointing down, trying to tilt the bridge on the side a bit) the bridge can actually move up and down along the screws a bit..the only time it's tight is when I screw them all they way down, which doesn't work..did you notice this and maybe find a way around it?

I've never noticed that before, but when I tried it on my guitar, I got the same result - the bridge does move a bit across the screws. It must not make a difference, because my guitar stays in tune great and I've never seen this as a problem. I'd just leave it where it naturally sits and not worry about it.

also, I have the no cap/res option and it took some time getting used to..I was wondering what made you switch to that setup since the guitar sounds sooo much different turned all the way to 10, almost so harsh it's unusable, compared to when the volume is at 9 or below...and I use a short cable as well.. do you know technically what makes it sound better to you without the caps?

Thanks so much, all the best!!!

I've always believed what Jeff Beck says, and I've heard it with my own ears - high gain tone sounds screechy when the guitar is turned up to 10. I've always turned the guitar down to 8 or 9. When I tried the cap/res, I wasn't paying attention to what the guitar sounded like at 10, since I never do that - I was paying attention to what happened when I turned down to around 5 or 6 to play chords. That I didn't like at all - it made the tone cold sounding and thin, and did something very weird and un-natural to the high end. I got rid of the cap/res immediately. Of course, without the cap/res, there's the annoying treble loss when turning down. That's why my guitar cord is 4 feet 6 inches long - that's just the cable itself, before putting the plugs on. If you go even a foot longer, you'll start hearing a treble roll-off when you turn down. Different brands of cable could change that equation, but in my opinion as a gear nerd and having tried A LOT of different cable over the years, I still think Mogami 2524 sounds the most natural. Also, remember that on all the great strat recordings of the past, there was no cap/res being used - that's a relatively new idea, and in my opinion, a really bad one.

All this stuff has a huge personal taste factor. Guitar volume - a lot of metal guys turn the guitar up to 10 and enjoy all that white noise that comes along with the note. Having the volume on 8 or 9 is not the "dude!" tone of today. Cable length - I play a lot of jazz, so I like to be able to turn down and not loose treble when I play chords. Hendrix used a 50 foot coiled cable, which is really closer to 100 feet! When he turned down, the tone became really dark, but very cool for the music he was playing. Many players use a 20 foot cable and like the tone to get a bit darker when they turn down. Cap/res - none of the old guitars had them - if it's not broken….

For those two-channel amp guys reading this and thinking "what the hell are they talking about?"…. there are a bunch of us "old school blues guys" who use pedals through a one channel amp to play high gain lead to clean chords and everything in between. If you're using a two-channel amp, you don't have to worry about a cap/res in your guitar or a short cable since you can simply switch to your clean channel and EQ it however you like for chords. For us one-channel guys, it's trickier to get versatility from our rigs.

Hi Scott
What about Big Muffs, do you try them?

That was my favorite pedal when I was about 18. That's not a criticism, I love the Big Muff - it's just one of those pedals that has a peculiar sound of it's own, and these days I'm using pedals that are more transparent. BTW, the correct name for the pedal is Big Muff Pie, but someone at Electro-Harmonix must have thought it wasn't a good christian name for a pedal, so they used the symbol for the mathematical number Pi instead of the word Pie. That probably saved a lot of young guitar players some grief from their parents.

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