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Scott answers your questions - round 2.4 - 10/6/09

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StarShip Captain

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

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:25 am    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.4 - 10/6/09 Reply with quote

Dear Scott,
thereafter Roland JC-120 answer,i will never ask a gear question to you.
I think southern rock cover your character better than fusion.

I don't think you understood my answer, probably because you didn't see one of my favorite movies "Ed Wood". I'm not a redneck who has a problem with men who wear women's clothes. I wouldn't do it, but hey, whatever makes people happy is fine with me! I voted for Obama, not McCain!!!

If you're angry because I don't like the Roland JC-120, then we just disagree, because I think it's such a terrible amp that it's actually funny, like Ed Wood. Ed Wood tried his best, but all he could make were awful movies like "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and "Glen or Glenda". Maybe dressing in women's clothes helped him deal with being such a bad director.

If someone says "Last night I watched Plan 9 From Outer Space", people will laugh, because it's the worst movie ever made. If someone says "I played a gig last night and had to play through a Roland JC-120", people will laugh because it's the worst amp ever made.

My apologies to the creator of the JC-120. I'm not familiar with his career - maybe he was just Ed Wood during the making of that particular amp and went on to invent some good stuff. But I wonder if he was designing it while saying to himself "this is the amp I'll be remembered for!"

Scott, I am trying to understand how you use your SD-9. For example, on most of the tunes on your Live album, you have a fat distorted tone, and I assume you roll down the volume knob on the guitar a bit to clean in it up slightly when needed, but it would be interesting to know how much of your "regular" tone has the SD-9.

Except for songs like "fee fi fo fum " and perhaps "jakarta", do you leave the SD-9 on ALL the time with your crunchy sounding amp? Or do you use only amp distortion for rhythm and then only kick in the SD-9 for solo stuff?
Thanks for taking the time, hope to see you in Canada soon...
Robert Renman

I've always got a distortion pedal on, either the SD-9, RC Booster, Octafuzz, or Fuzz Factory. The long delay sound at the beginning of Jakarta is the only exception - that's just the amp, multi-tap delay and a chorus pedal. Actually I used the RC Booster for most of the album, and only used the SD-9 on Sultan's Boogie, Meter Maid, the solo in Devil Boy, and the second half of the solo in Xanax when it changes keys. If I'm going to be playing a lot of chords or want a bluesy lead tone, I use the RC Booster - if I'm playing more legato single lines, I use the SD-9 because it's fatter and has more gain and compression.

Hey Scott,
Regarding your playing with Jimmy Herring, did you have any thoughts on his rig (IE thoughts on the Fuchs tone, etc.). Anything you liked a lot or thought was OK but not something that would work for you, etc.?

I use a Fuchs overdrive supreme mod (100w) from a fender PA. As much as I'd love to A/B it against an OD100, isn't really possible given that Ed Yoon has said that those amps are 6 weeks backordered and pretty much no store outside of maybe L.A. has a display model. Kind of hard to pick one up (at 2 grand) sound unheard. Figured I'd get your thoughts on thoughts on both Fuchs sounds and OD-100.

I love the OD-100 but sorry, I haven't tried Fuchs amps. I guess Jimmy was using one, but I can't compare the two amps because we were gigging, not adjusting settings and doing an A/B test. My sound is more full range while Jimmy's has much more midrange, but that's more about settings than amps. He uses hemp speakers which have more mids, and humbuckers which have more mids than single coils, but he plays in bigger groups than I do, so maybe he needs a more edgy sound or it wouldn't cut through. I play mostly trio so I like a full range sound, but Jimmy sounds great and his tone works well for him.

hey Scott
first time im writing here , im a huge fan and thanks for what you ve done with your music,really appreciated(changed my life).
so anyway i just saw that your coming over here on the eu touring in winter;i know this subject has been discussed again but it was a few years ago and i feel like asking;i really want to tape the performance (really digging you nowadays) so would you be totally mad or uncomfortable with it?i know you feel very peaceful against the youtube uploaders but im 100% not doing that.if i see you around before the gig i ll ask you in person of course. whatsoever thanks in advance !

Even though I trust what you're saying and that the recording would be only for you, if other people see you doing it, they'll think it's cool for them to do it too. And some of those people ARE YouTubers who will cause me extra work to remove their crappy videos. Just try not to make it obvious that you're taping, OK?

Would you be surprised if I told you Eric Johnson only uses 16 ohm cabs?
Yes, because I think Marshalls running at 16 ohms sound thin. But maybe that doesn't matter as much in his case because when I hear him, I don't hear his amp, cabinet, or guitar as much as I hear his BK Butler Tube Driver. I don't mean any disrespect because Eric's a good player and people seem to like his tone, but I just don't like the sound of that pedal. I bought one and sold it the next day. To me it sounds woofy, and sounds the same no matter what guitar is plugged into it - it's not transparent at all. Maybe I'm an old school guy, but I like to hear the actual guitar more. The Tube Driver colors and processes the tone so much that it almost makes a guitar not sound like a guitar.
I haven't heard much of Eric's music so I can't say anything about his tone except for my first hand experience with the Tube Driver. I remember trying out the Celestion Heritage Greenbacks - I didn't like them at all. Compared to my 90's English Greenbacks I thought they were totally bass shy. Then I saw an ad in Guitar Player with Eric raving about them. Even though I respect him very much, our tastes in music and tone are quite different.

Some of my favorite tones are on Mike Landau and the Raging Honkies "We Are The Best Band" and the new Live album. Now that's some fucking kick ass strat tone. Tunes with some serious attitude too. I know I'm on another subject now, but if I had to pick a current rock guitarist who plays his ass off, writes his own great tunes, and gets the best tone in the world, there's only one guy that gets my vote and that's Mike. And that's because Jeff doesn't write much of his own music. I believe that when it comes to blues-rock, Mike is the only living guitarist in the same league as Hendrix and Beck, and hasn't gotten nearly the media recognition he deserves. So when people mention Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and others who are super famous, a part of me gets pissed off because I think Mike should be equally if not more recognized for his amazing guitar playing. Just my opinion. By the way, he runs his OD-100 at 8 ohms.

Alexander Dumble told me that all the guitar players he works with, including Eric, Mike, Robben, ect., are 8 ohm guys. I'm more inclined to believe Dumble than something you read somewhere. So, back to you - why not do your own test if you don't believe what I'm saying? Get identical 4x12 cabinets, load one with 16 ohm Greenbacks and the other with 8 ohm Greenbacks and hear it for yourself. If you think the 16 ohm cab sounds better, THAT would surprise me, because it'll sound like a tiny ant compared to the 8 ohm, and I'm not talking about volume, I'm talking about FATNESS.

Go to a music store and check out every one speaker combo you can find. Let me know if you find one with a 16 ohm speaker in it. Even bad amp makers know enough to use an 8 ohm speaker. Check out old pictures from Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin recording sessions - there's a Marshall head and a full stack, and they're always miking the bottom cabinet. The top cab's not just sitting there to look pretty - it's being combined with the bottom cab to make the amp run at 8 ohms, the way Jim Marshall intended.

If you want to hear what Marshalls running at 16 ohms sound like, pick up some records by bad heavy metal shredder bands. Most of those guys run their amps at 16 ohms and don't know shit about tone, only about playing as fast as they can. Most of them have a really thin guitar sound, and their 16 ohm setup plays a big role in that.

Going back to one of the questions in 2.2. - I've now heard the Klon Centaur because my curiosity got the best of me so I ordered one. I like it a lot - it's got a little more mid than the RC Booster and SD-9, but it's a great musical sounding pedal and it's nice to have another great flavor of distortion. Is it worth over 300 bucks? Well, I guess they put four years of their time into developing it, so they should probably be paid more for their effort, but I don't think it's a better sounding pedal than the RC or SD-9, just different. Whatever, it sounds really great and if Beck is using it, you can be sure you're not wasting your money if you buy one. That's why I didn't have any doubts about spending the money.

Hey Scott,
No questions for now, I would like to thank you again for your answers regarding your best of Scott Henderson Guitar book, Coltrane's Giant Steps, Xotic BB+( i love it's tone than BB I have tried both already , I use it for playing Rush, Yes and Steve Morse covers) , Xotic Cable SH model and your pedalboard. There's nothing more inspiring than talking to you in this forum!

I just bought earlybird tickets for your gig here in Manila, Philippines. I hope to score some autographs from you, Dennis and Jeff.

Am so excited to see you guys play! See ya..


Thanks Brian, see ya soon!

Scott do you have a backup amp for gigs?
i read that for small gigs you have the Fender HRD.
I assume that it's your backup also for bigger stages or you have something else?
In smaller gigs do you carry only the HRD?...and what know ...the bad moment which tha amp decides to go to the amp heaven ?

I don't have a backup amp, unless there just happens to be one owned by the venue. I do carry spare tubes and fuses though. My HRD is just for small gigs at home, I don't take it on the road. I've been pretty lucky as far as amp disasters - Suhr amps are very dependable and I can only remember one time when it was abused by a raging airport luggage gorilla and it didn't work at soundcheck. Luckily there was an amp tech close by and he fixed it. It was dropped so hard that the pots actually separated from the circuit board, so he had to re-solder everything that was jarred loose from the fall. The transformer was also bent... I asked John how far he thought the amp in it's anvil case would have to be dropped to cause that kind of damage - he said around 10 to 15 feet. Nice to know they pay close attention to FRAGILE stickers at the airport.

I've never had an amp just die and go to amp heaven, maybe because I take good care of them and make sure they're thoroughly checked out before taking them on the road.

hey scott glad to have you back!!!!!!!
good news with the TT!!
a few Q:
Still no OZ tour?? come on man, you gotta come here!!! its a great place!! maybe even move here??

I agree, it is a great place and I had a blast when I was there, but unfortunately the promoter who's booking jazz and fusion there isn't offering much money. He was offered the Berlin/Chambers/Henderson trio but we're not doing the gig so I assume it's because it didn't pay enough. The last time I talked to him about my trio coming down, he offered less than what we made there ten years ago. In this business, you set a price and you can't lower it for anyone. My trio hardly ever plays in the UK or France for that reason - we've toured all over the world, yet we've never played in Paris! And my agent tells me that we never will until they meet his price. I'm just the guitar player, I keep out of the business stuff.

Is it possible to release a DVD of your concert? specially since you're touring with dennis chambers?? or maybe for the new TT? i know ppl have asked you before, but just want to highlight that we're looking forward to it and there's a big demand for it (i think)

Sorry, no DVD's. The songs I'm playing with Jeff and Dennis are all covers, and Tribal Tech isn't touring, just doing a CD.

last one is regarding your playing.....i think in your earlier days in TT, i feel that you're still approaching playing guitar with a guitarist mind....not sure if you get it or not, its still great playing dont get me wrong.... but now, listening to those youtube video, your playing is totally different....lots more vibrato, and the lines you're playing are completely different, not much linear like scale etc...but seems like you use alot more intervals, triads etc, not something that a guitarist would think of, at least in my opinion, your playing is totally unique to you now, it has that distinct tone and phrasing which not many people has, even the famous my question is, what leads you to where you are now? are you still transcribing?and where do you get your sources or inspiration from? books etc? which books?

thanks scott, glad to have you back!!
I think most guitar players learn the scale/linear approach first, and in my younger days I was no different. Now I'm more into larger interval skips, really emphasizing chord tones, and my phrasing is based more on motifs. I think that's a more melodic approach, and a natural progression for most musicians as they become more experienced. I still transcribe, but not as much as I use to - I get the most benefit from listening to keyboard players like Joe Zawinul and Herbie Hancock, my two favorites. But saxophone players like Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Chris Potter, and Shamus Blake, just to name a few of the many amazing ones, can definitely help broaden your vocabulary. I don't read very well so I've never been a book guy - I'd rather learn from records. It's good ear training and I remember what I learn better if I transcribe it myself.

Hi Scott!
I remeber reading that you used to use a silent box that you would put your cabinet into for recording. I want to build one for myslef.

What is the best way, in your opinion to build one?

Did you follow any "hot to's" or any other references?

Do you have any suggestions or tips?

Many thanks!!!

My suggestion is don't do it! I never liked the box I made. The sound bounced around and made some pretty unpleasant frequencies, which I had to spend a lot of time EQing out. Here's a better way - make a "tent". Throw ten or more big heavy blankets over the cabinet. First, make a "T" from two pieces of 3/4 inch plywood, and use 3M Dual-Lock to attach it to the top of the cabinet, lined up with the right or left speakers. Make sure the bottom of the T goes all the way to the back of the cabinet so there's as much of the T as possible attached to the top of the cabinet, because the blankets are heavy. The top of the T should be about two feet wide and stick out about 2 or 3 feet from the front of the cabinet. Then hang the blankets from the floor in back of the cabinet, over the top of the T to the floor in the front. This gives you the space for the microphone. Once you get the mic adjusted, throw on some more blankets from one side of the cab to the other. It's not as quiet as a box but it sounds a lot better.

Mr. Henderson,

I know it's hard to get anything going in mid-America!

However, the Little Rock, Arkansas area is a good place to get some gigs.
We are located in a great little "Crossroads" of this part of the US. Between Memphis/Nashville, Dallas, Ok. City/Tulsa, St. Louis/Kansas City, Shreveport/New Orleans, Atlanta, and the East Coast.

Anyway, please consider this. In the Little Rock area we regularly house gigs for other "Musicians' Musicians". There are quite a few clubs in the area, including the Fayetteville and Hot Springs areas. And these clubs are the types that welcome players with more than Pop offerings. Like yourself.

I truly think you would be able to quickly establish a sizeable fan base in this area.

In the Spring, we have the state's lagest Festival, Riverfest. It would be an ideal place stage to showcase yourself to this whole market.

Here's a couple of links, I think you should have your management seriously look into:

Again, I know the East Coast and West Coast have the lion's share of people. But, there is a pretty large population right here in the "crossroads", that might make it more feasible for you to get more US exposure.

Please consider what I am saying. And if you need any help contacting the Promoters, etc., please email me. I will be more than happy to get you some good contacts.

Your fan,


Thanks for the info, but any trips to that area of the US would definitely involve flights, because the drives are way too long between cities. In order to make a tour work financially, there can't be any nights off, and driving for 10 hours on the day of a show isn't an option - nobody wants to play after a day like that. Keep in mind we're not talking about resting on a tour bus, we're talking mini-van with no tour manager or driver. The drivers play guitar, bass and drums. On the east coast, the trips are never more than 3 or 4 hours so it's doable.

Flying gigs have to pay well, include the cost of the flights and hotel, and the promoter would have to contact our agent directly. His info is on my website. If you know any interested promoters, please have them contact my agent. Thanks Jeff!

Hi Scott,

Thanks for your time and patience.

I want to know how you use your MIDI MOUSE pedal to control the SE 70, how do you have your programs set on the se70???


For my trio, I do it the simplest way. For each song, I program the SE-70 patches in sequential order, even if the same patch is used more than once. That's so I don't have to use the Midi Mouse to go forwards and backwards during a song - too much foot work. When it's time for a patch change, all I have to do is press the up button. Some of my songs use only one or two patches - others use as many as twenty. All I have to remember is the patch number that the song starts on, and hit the up button when it's time for the next sound.

I also have a patch 1 through 20 "jam bank", a favorite sounds collection that I use when I'm in a looser format and have no idea what sound I'm going for until the inspiration hits me. I never remember all those patch numbers so I use a list on the floor.

Hi Scott,
First of all i want to say that you had a huge influence in my perception of the guitar and music in general.
I live in Skopje, Macedonia and there are a lot of fans and admirers of your playing here in my home country. So i was wondering if there are any possibilities to see you on a concert in Skopje, perhaps as part of the traditional Jazz Festival or Blues&Soul Festival that takes place in summer. And another technical question: have you ever tried the Fulltone Fulldrive 2 and what is your opinion on this pedal?
Best regards

My wife is from Skopje, and my agent has been trying for many years to get me booked on a festival there. We've played in Croatia and Slovenia many times and drawn big audiences, and I'm sure the promoters in Skopje know that. Many promoters only hire big name performers, or acts that are well known locally. The promoters in Skopje probably don't think I have many fans there, but if they were more in tune with the current music scene, they'd realize that I do, and so do a lot of other musicians who don't fit into the "mainstream" category. But they'd rather play it safe and hire the same traditional performers year after year, so there's very little chance of someone like me appearing. I love playing festivals, because I get to play for people who have never heard of me and hopefully make new fans. I always thank festival promoters for having the balls to hire me and other musicians who play non-traditional music. Apparently the promoters in Skopje have no balls. That's me being nice - if my wife was writing this, the grammar would be way more colorful.

About the Fulltone pedal, I haven't heard it, but it's on my list of things to try on my next visit to True Tone. I love the Octafuzz - I think it's the warmest sounding Octavia ever made.

Man, what a shame!!! A trio of Scott w/ Jeff and Dennis, and not a single US date????????!!!!!!!!!!!! Itís been 7 long years since the last time he played in Chicago, or even released new material.

Is it ever going to happen????!!!!

Scott has truly been one of the greatest disappointments to a die-hard fan like me, that attended EVERY TT/SHB gig in the area.

I donít want to hear about the economics. If you want to keep your fan base, give them something.

Jack J
Sorry to be such a disappointment to you, but please understand that clubs in the US are just not willing to pay what Jeff Berlin's agent is asking for that show. I love my fans, but I'm not willing to leave my 5 year old and go on the road for crap money. I plan to tour the states in April with my own trio, which is a more affordable band, and I hope we'll play in Chicago. As far as the last seven years, I was dropped by my agent when he joined a pop music agency, and I didn't find another agent for the U.S. until recently, after being referred to him by Alex Machacek. All the previous agents I've talked to were unwilling or unable to book a tour capable of making any money at all - working 3 to 4 nights a week for low paying clubs that don't pay for hotels. Those kind of tours LOOSE money. Do you think I should go into debt to make my fans happy?

It's not my fault that the U.S. has very few jazz fans compared to Europe and just about everywhere else. I have to bust my ass five times as hard to tour here, for about 1/5 of the money I make in Europe. Believe me, I'm just as disappointed as you are about my career in the U.S.

It was my personal decision to put my composing on hold until my daughter gets old enough for kindergarten so I could spend as much time as possible with her. If you can't understand that, tough shit, don't support me anymore.

Hey Scott,
Thanks for responding. I really appreciate it. Your email opened my eyes and really explained just how bad things are in the US for jazz artists. Sadly, much worse than I ever imagined. Great to hear about your upcoming US dates! Hope we get a chance to meet/chat during your Chicago/Milwaukee stops, as we have in the past. I have to apologize for being so bold, but please understand, that I wouldnít be ranting and raving like this if I wasnít your die-hard fan of 20+ years. A fan who will ALWAYS support you, so please donít take offense. Itís just something I needed to let out. I absolutely understand your decision. Family should always come first, and I applaud you for that. I was aware of you becoming a father. Bob Baglione mentioned it, when I asked him how you were doing. You sound like youíre really enjoying being a dad. Me and my wife are also hoping for a our first bundle of joy. Iím 42, and sheís 33. Any advice you can offer to a lateĖstarter like me? Iím hearing a lot of negative ďyouíre too old ď comments. In conclusion, Iíd like to thank you for being a never-ending source of musical inspiration over the years. I hope and pray that someday (hopefully soon) the state of jazz/fusion music can change in the US, so that the many fans you have here, will be able to see you on a regular basis.

Best wishes and many hugz to you and your family,


PS. Man, I would die to hear you with Jeff & Dennis. Any chance of recording some of those dates, and either posting on a tracker or selling them?
Please feel free to post this topic on your message board

Thanks for understanding the situation. I appreciate your passion for music and I'm grateful for fans like you. I'm not offended at all by your rant - I get pissed off too because I hardly ever get a chance to see my favorite musicians play. America has a long history of not being very supportive of it's own jazz and blues artists, who make the majority of their income playing outside the U.S.

It's a shame that jazz and progressive music doesn't get it's fair share of the air waves. In other countries, regular folks enjoy jazz and eclectic music because they've been exposed to it on the radio all their lives. More exposure, more fans. In the states, jazz and progressive radio is almost non existent - most of the people who become jazz fans are musicians themselves. They weren't exposed to jazz through public media, but through their own study of music. I was turned on to jazz by my musician friends, I certainly never heard it on the radio.

Anyway, my main problem hasn't been the smaller jazz audience here, it's been finding an agent who knows how to make the most of the situation. Our new agent is really good, so we'll see what happens in April. Hopefully we'll tour the states again every year like we used to.
My only advice about being a late dad is to get more serious about your health. I'd like to be a wang bar granddad someday. My hero was Joe Zawinul, the hippest grandpa ever. We were at one of Joe's New Years Eve parties when my daughter was just learning to walk. She was carrying a little toy around all night, and out of all the people there, she went up to Joe and gave it to him, like she knew he was the baddest cat in the room. My wife, Kinsey and me just looked at each other and smiled.

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