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Scott answers your questions - round 2.6 - 1/11/10

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Joined: 14 May 2004
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Location: Boulder, CO

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:30 pm    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.6 - 1/11/10 Reply with quote

Hi Scott!
I remember you were telling us at MI about this blind guitar player and how you asked him if he could do big interval jumps all over the neck and he could do it really well. What what was his name?
Thank you!

It's been so long I've forgotten his name - sorry! Actually, he heard me playing some diminished lines with big interval jumps and since he couldn't see what I was doing, he couldn't figure it out. After I showed him what I was doing he got really good at it. The concept is simply playing ideas from the diminished scale but moving up and down the neck in minor 3rds and skipping strings as you move - it's actually easy to do but sounds hard.

Hi Scott,
I played an OD Classic+ this weekend. This amp is just perfect. But it is to heavy for me and I can live with 1 channel.
Which one do you prefer if weight is no issue? Do you miss the OD100 clean channel? Does the second channel of OD100 classic and SH100 sound very similar?
I don't miss the clean channel at all, because I rarely play with a totally clean sound. I like just a little distortion and compression on my chords. The difference between the SH-100 and channel 2 of an OD-100 classic is pretty subtile, you'd never hear it in a track. The main difference in those two amps is the weight - you won't get an OD-100 on a plane as luggage. The difference between a classic and a + is not so subtile. I think the notes on the classic are more natural, fat, and vintage sounding, while the notes on the + are more punchy and they pop out easier - overall the + is easier to play and more forgiving of unwanted string noise. It's a tradeoff, but personally I like the classic.

How is your new pink guitar different from the orange one?
Does the neck feel worn? What made you change?
The orange guitar was a mistake on my part. I wanted a Fiesta Red guitar like the Fender re-isssue I used on Dog Party. John didn't have that color, so I took a friend's Fiesta Red Strat to Finish Masters, matched the color, and brought the paint to John. The problem is that car paint is chroma based and meant for covering metal, not wood, and that's why the guitar didn't sound that great. A friend of mine did the same thing with Finish Masters so we brought both guitars to John. He has a device that turns a table or any surface into a speaker - he plugged it into his iPod and put it on my seafoam guitar and a few others and they all sounded great (if you like AC/DC). When he put the device on the Finish Master guitars, the music was much softer with very little bass. John thinks it's because the paint never fully dried, soaked into the wood and ruined the tone. So we learned a lesson - don't use car paint. The pink guitar is a relic, with just one coat of lacquer - it sounds great and I'm really happy with it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Coltrane's evolution.Do you enjoy his entire catalogue, or just the Bebop stuff?My personal favorites are Alabama, Naima and Like Sonny, for instance.

I love it all - the first thing I heard was A Love Supreme and Resolution was my favorite tune. His standards playing was too harmonically advanced for me at that time, but later I got into Giant Steps and similar records.

I would also like to ask about your approach to improvising over Giant Steps and Countdown, or any similar progressions.Specifically, how much of your ideas are worked out phrases, or variations thereof?

I have had trouble improvising with those pieces without using previously worked out patterns and such.My feeling is that if I had 50-100 worked out phrases that were interchangeable over the various permutations of the Coltrane matrix, then I could almost fake that I was improvising over it.I personally don't want to utilize that approach, but maybe that is just what most great improvisers are really doing over those types of progressions.

That's exactly what great improvisers are doing. True improvisation, defined as playing things we've never played before 100% of the time, especially at fast tempos, is pretty much a myth. All improvisers have their personal vocabulary of small licks which they re-arrange to create different ideas and phrases, just like we use words to create our ideas when we talk. Listen to Coltrane's solo on Giant Steps and you'll hear many small "words" repeated many times, but even though the same words are used on the alternate take, it's a totally different solo. Improvisation is just another language and the same concepts apply.

Thanks for any information you are comfortable with providing.Your playing is a constant inspiration.I would ask more questions about your own music and gear, but it seems like you have answered anything I could think of already.

Hi Scott,

1- It is well known that quite a few pro guitarists took lessons with Ted Greene. Just wondering if you ever studied with him. I know chord melody isn't your thing, but Ted was a master of harmony, so i thought perhaps you might've gone for a lesson or too? Did you ever get to see Ted perform at GIT?

I took a few lessons with him and saw him play many times at GIT. He was a total freak of nature, an amazing musician and definitely one of best guitarists in the world. I have so much of his playing on cassette, I'll never have time to study it all in this lifetime. I have some great harmony floating around in my head, but I don't have instant access to it like Ted had. He could improvise beautiful harmony AND counterpoint lines and bass at the same time - it sounded like he was instantly composing classical music influenced by jazz. He was the closest thing to Joe Zawinul on guitar.

2- You've mentioned how you now pick with the rounded edge of the pick- Landau hipped you to that. I think you also said that the best tone comes if you pick with your fingers- now that you're playing less notes, have you tried fingerpicking when you solo?

I always use my fingers if I want the fattest tone, but when I play jazz lines I need to use a pick because I can't make lines swing with my fingers.

3- In the little bit i've heard from your gigs with CHambers and Berlin, it sounds like you're using less delay on the solo tone? Is this the case, or is this just another example of "bootleg magic"?
Thanks for taking the time to do this.

It's just the bad recording. There's a terrible sounding clip up on YouTube now, and one of the comments is "Scott please don't remove this video", but I probably will because I hate my solo and the recording is awful.

Thx for your answer Scott.
Damn, I'm still shocked you and Holdsworth can't play in Paris. Emmeci don't seem to ever send us the artists up north. It's always Italy, Switzerland ,Holland mainly. The new morning club can go to hell.

I'd suggest the Triton (big club) and Le Baiser Salé (fusion temple of Paris)...but maybe your booker tried them already.
Now a couple of questions:

Have you tried the BB preamp Andy Timmons model?

Yes, it's not for me.

What do you expect from the new BB mod coming?

I tried it and it didn't do what I needed.

Have you heard the Suhr pedals (riot, shiba drivge)?
I must say the shiba seem very BB-like, can't wait to try that!
Thanks for your time! all the best for ya!
Yes I've heard those pedals. They sound good, but they won't replace my RC Booster and SD-9.

Hi Scott,
I would like to know what you have for your home sudio, sund card, speakers, preamp ect..etc...
Thanks for your time

Shure 57 mics, Brent Averill 1272 Mic Pre, Apogee Rosetta 800, Symphony 16 card, Mac running Digital Performer 7, PreSonus Central Station, Dynaudio BM15A Monitors, Dynaudio BM14S Sub Woofer, and the studio walls have Primacoustic Broadway 2" panels on them, about 30% coverage in the studio and 40% coverage in the room where I mic the cabs. That's the audio part - my midi gear is less pro since it's only for writing and practicing. I use an M-Audio Oxygen 8 keyboard, MOTU Micro Express midi interface, Korg M1R, and Yamaha QY100 (for drums only).

hi again,was wondering what amp/cabinet you using on that mr.pc/all blues video clinic in spain or something (hope you know what im talking about) and also you think V60's would sound like bad on an open back cab?(i definitely love that sound on those clips in spain than any other i ve heard you play; im trying to get to that direction[any advise is most welcome])
always thanks for your time on this q-a thing,hope this wasnt too much
Honestly I wouldn't base an opinion off an Internet clip. Those clips don't often sound like it really sounded at the gig - it depends on where the person who taped it was sitting, the acoustics of the room, etc. I remember the gig but I have no idea what cabinet or pickups I was using.

I think V-60's sound better in closed back cabs, and Fletcher Landau's sound better in open back cabs. The reason is that Fletcher Landau's have more mids than V60's, so they help add definition to scooped sounding open back cabs or combos, and V60's help midrangy and directional closed back cabs sound bigger and more open.

Hi, what is the name of this TT tune?

Big Fun from the Spears album. I played too many notes back in those days and not too many good ones... but I like the tune and Spears was our first record.

Scott, do you use some kind of power conditioner (like Furman) or something?
Wow that brings up some funny memories. I used to use one in Europe and it blew up on every single tour. It became a band joke - how many gigs will the Furman do before it blows up - it was usually about five. One time I was on the same festival with Kurt Rosenwinkel and he wanted me to show him my rig. I turned it on and all this smoke started coming out. Kurt yelled "dude, your shit's on fire" and he was surprised when I started laughing because I knew it was just the Furman again.

Actually the reason I was using it in the first place is because the power in Italy fluctuates a bit, and it would cause my SE-70 to make weird noises. I don't think the Bradshaw rack's power supply was giving the SE-70 enough juice. When the Furman worked, it solved that problem. When I stopped using the Bradshaw rack and started using the power adaptor that came with the SE-70, there was no longer a problem, so I left the broken Furman in a trash can in Europe somewhere.

Hey Scott, I'm curious about your BF Bandmaster mod... can you share generally what was done to it? I mean, changed OT etc.? Does it still use 2x 6l6 and 4x 12ax7 tubes? I know you prefer 100watters - was the power of the amp raised or you still use it as a 40w amp? Thanks.
btw, youre amazing, seen you live twice and was hypnotised, keep on rockin!
It's a 1964 Bandmaster that I gave to Dumble to mod. To be honest, I have no idea what he did to it, but the power section didn't change and there are no extra tubes or raised wattage. All the mods are in the preamp section and are Dumble's "secrets" because he gooped the whole thing so no one could see what he did.

Hey Scott!

I hope these questions find you well, and all the best for 2010! First off, as you recommended, I bought a SD-9. Awesome. All I can say. It took a little while to figure out the sweet spots that work for me, but once I found them... man!!! It's really amazing how full the tone stays when you roll back the volume on the guitar, and you really hear the guitar too. Thanks for the recommendation!!

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask my question, but I figured you'd be the guy to ask. Being a foreigner in the USA, and playing music for a living, every so often I become acutely aware of a culture gap. Growing up is kinda like boiling an egg, as in, once it's boiled, it stays boiled. So, if you grow up in Europe, as I did, you develop a sense of humor and a worldview that's just inherently different different from those in the USA. So occasionally, I find myself not getting "it", or find jokes not funny. Or find something ungodly hilarious while everybody else looks at me with "WTF??" written all over their face. Or I find myself go: "WTF??"

Plenty of your GIT students come from overseas, you're married to a European lady and in a previous topic you also mentioned Joe Zawinul's command of obscure cultural references, which, to me, seems to indicate you were at least aware of how Zawinul dealt with being a European in the USA. I understand that these days the USA is dealing with somewhat of an identity crisis (politically polarized, two unpopular wars, we're losing economic hegemony to China etc.), so everything that's not American and everybody who is not American is frowned upon, which makes it harder for foreigners to be accepted. I was wondering if you had any insights?

Thanks so much!
Glad you like the SD-9! I agree, there are differences in American and European culture and humor, but part of that is simply because some jokes don't translate well. Political humor is tricky because some people take politics pretty seriously and are easily offended. Europeans still think we're all idiots for electing Bush for eight years, and I don't blame them - some of the shit he did made me embarrassed to be an American. Maybe things will change for the better now, but I've seen first hand how hard it is for non Americans here - my wife has a doctorate in music yet she was passed over for some of the best teaching gigs at local Universities in favor of American applicants (some who I know) who have far less knowledge and talent.

But despite the culture gap, I have a lot of great comedy moments with my foreign students, usually about sex and relationships, which seem to be funny to everyone. So my advice is stick to sex and bathroom humor on the lowest level, and you'll be popular with 99% of Americans unless they've been fucked up by religion. For those people you have to learn politically correct humor, so watch Seinfeld or some other non-threatening TV sitcom. If you want to hang with hip musicians, watch Family Guy and you can't go wrong.

Hi Scott, thank you for reply our answers, you are very kind.

Can you try the new Suhr Riot Distortion? If your answer is yes, How do you compare it with your lovely sd9?
Thanks a lot
I've tried the Riot and it doesn't work for me. I turn the guitar's tone knob way down on the treble pickup, and I want the guitar to sound fat, but not woofy. The only high gain pedals I've heard which make my guitar sound fat but still retain the "stringiness" are the SD-9, Klon Centaur, and DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp. John's Riot and the Xotic BB sound good as long as the guitar's tone control is on 5 or above, but to me that's more of a generic rock tone. It sounds fine but I'm going for a different thing - I can only describe it as really fat with very little buzz or hairiness in the sound. If the tone control gets above 3 with high gain, especially on a Strat treble pickup, it's not a smooth tone anymore, it's more rock n' roll.

Hi Scott!

Can you go through your procedure of "building" a track in the studio?

Do you record with the whole band first to get some interaction going and get a good drum track and then record the guitar and bass parts again at home?

If that is the case do you have a set form before starting recording or do you improvise freely and then "fix" the imrovisation at home?

Maybe you have a lead track and record the drums to that and then overdub guitars and bass?

Thanks for the insight and all the best in 2010!!!

I record live with the band in the studio and my intention is to keep as much as possible from the basic tracks. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes I don't like what I played, but if the bass and drums are slamming, I'll re-do my stuff at home. If I overdub a solo, I'm careful to preserve the interplay by playing rhythmically similar to my first solo. Sometimes I like what I played but don't like the tone, so I learn the solo and play it again with a better sound. I love the sound of my cabinet room and I've never been in a studio where I get better tone, so if I think I can make it sound better at home, I usually do. When I overdub, I play about 10 solos, wait a couple days and listen to them, pick the best one and then fix it if there are lame moments, which there always are.


What is your home studio recording setup like? I have read about hanging sheets in a room close to your amp to prevent nasty reflections; but after the SM-57, what tube mike preamp do you use and do you still go digital out after that?
Do you use Logic and have you tried the new Logic 9 with modeling amps and pedals? UD stomp for delays?

Still love to check new amps and pedals? If so , than you have to check our Famous Dutch Amp HOOK Captain EL34.
When you are in Holland I can arrange that you can play on it (in private) at a guitar store and also Suhr dealer

Big thank you from Jos from the Netherlands.
I will be at the front row in February 21e (zoetermeer) Holland.
I think all that is answered above. I sold my UD Stomp, but I copied some of my favorite delay patches into the computer using Waves delays, and they sound much cleaner and less noisy than the UD Stomp. I only use modeling amps as practice and composing tools. I use the Korg Pandora PX5D and for what it is, I love it. I've never heard computer based amp modeling that I liked at all.

Thanks for the offer but I'm done trying out amps. I'm convinced that nothing sounds better than an old plexi Marshall. I have one at home, plus my Suhr signature model. When I put them both on the amp switcher I can't hear the difference.

I never see Scott with a pink guitar ? Can you send a pic ?

you can find it here:

My new guitar is my favorite of all the guitars John's made for me. So after saying that, I feel like I should write a little about guitars in general - there's nothing on TV and I'm too tired to practice. (Today was my daughter's 6th birthday party.)
I hear a lot of talk about pickups, bridges, tuners, and every other piece of guitar hardware, but here's something to think about... Every time John makes a guitar for me, he makes three, and lets me choose the one I like the most - the other two are sold to dealers. He makes the guitars from the same batch of wood (bodies, neck, fretboard), the same exact pickups with 100% accurate specs (not like the wildly inconsistent pickups on the old strats), same exact bridges, tuners, pots, wiring, action, pickup heights, ect. John's done this for me at least four times, and every time, all three guitars sound completely different from each other. Of course, the reason is the wood. Wood is unpredictable - a guitar from the best luthier in the world (and John definitely qualifies as one of them), will still sound like the wood it's made from. It's not just the body wood, but also the combination of the neck and body which plays a big part in the sound. One thing I respect about Suhr is that they won't use a body if it's too heavy. That point alone is a major reason their guitars sound so much better than the competition.
I'm looking for a big punchy low end with good definition, sweet sounding thick mids, and a top end that isn't too bright, which comes from a light body. I play way up on the high E string, and the guitar with the fattest notes up there is usually the one I choose. Almost every time, it's the lightest of the three. Even though the three guitars always sound different from each other, I can't say I've ever heard a bad one - they're always a good weight and have great tone. Most of the guitars I pick up in stores are extremely heavy. The Fender I used on Tore Down House wasn't a great guitar - it was heavy and had a weird top end until I put V60's in it, and that made a huge difference.

My point is, good electronics and hardware will greatly improve the sound of a guitar, but the heart of the guitar is the wood, and for now, that's more luck than science. John, being the ultimate guitar nerd/scientist, is working on ways to measure the properties of wood which will enable him to more accurately determine what a guitar will sound like before it's made. He's even working on measuring the frequencies of necks to determine which ones will sound the best on which bodies. I find this kind of stuff very interesting, but I'm a nerd too. If I didn't play for a living, I'd ask John for a job.

Hey Scott im awaiting for your pics in women clothes with a pink Suhr and Roland JC-120 amp.

OK just kidding.
I can't afford women's clothes... how about if I play the pink guitar and ask promoters to provide a JC-120 as a prop? I'll put it center stage with a nice oversize pink bra on it.

Can you post your bridge compare test audio files ?
Me and many folks cant do same test.
I have Fender Vintage bridges on all my guitars now and I don't have those Fender vs. Gohto files anymore. I can tell you that the Fender six screw bridge has way more bass and makes the guitar sound bigger than any two-post bridge does. That's not to say the Gohto 1088 that I used to play doesn't have good tone, it's just not a vintage Strat tone that most players are used to hearing. I've heard guys say they're unhappy with their Suhr guitars - that they don't sound like real Strats. I ask them what bridge they put on the guitar and when they say a Gohto two-post bridge, I kindly inform them that the Fender six screw bridge is a major part of what makes a Strat sound like a Strat. It's easy to change - the two holes can be plugged and a six screw bridge can be put on with no cosmetic problems.

This next question isn't from the message board, but from a personal email.

When are you guys coming to Boston???
The bad news is that I can't do a US tour in the spring like I'd hoped. I got this letter a few months ago from my agent:

By my huge surprise and disappointment, I wasn't able to find enough interest and $ among all places/venues I was hoping to include in 2-3 or maybe 4 weeks tour in the triangle between New England, North Carolina and Milwaukee/Chicago area. EIther better venues were not excited or saying they cannot do good biz, or offering between 1 and 2K and with no hotel. I really was hoping for the Iridium in NYC, but somehow the guy who is the owner and booker and friend of mine, gave up, offering only Wednesday for 1K and %, and I was hoping for 4 nights and 12K.
I have to reorganize my thoughts and see if I can reinvent something, all I have now is a sporadic interest from 10-12 places that offer 1-2K and % and in most cases no hotel.
On the West Coast, I had also disappointment from Triple Door in Seattle and Yoshi's in Oakland (SF is kaput)
Sorry about that, it's not only Glenn Beck that sucks in this country.


Actually I wasn't surprised by this letter, considering what I remember about touring the states with Tribal Tech, and fusion was more popular then than it is now. So sorry guys, my career in the US is as dead as a doornail. It's a drag because I always liked touring here, but I still feel lucky to play fun music for a living, and I'm still pretty popular everywhere but in my own country. Well, my next door neighbor says I'm pretty good. Anyway, I want to thank all my fans and friends in the states who buy my records and have supported my gigs. If I could afford it, I'd go out on tour and just hope to break even, but like most people I need a somewhat steady income.

I think I'll stop using distortion and hire a soprano sax player. Then I'd get my music on the WAVE and tour for the wine and cheese crowd. I'm going into my studio right now to write some simpler music, with smooth rhythms and diatonic harmonies and... oh wait....... fuck that, Spongebob's on!

Hi Scott,

I really miss your open counselings (class of '96). That room was the most inspiring place in Hollywood besides the baked potatoe


what are your thoughts on Celestion G12M Greenbacks in an openback 212 cab? Or do you have a recommendation for that kind of cabinet? I have Jensen ceramics in there right now and paired with my Badger30 (which is fantastic with the Suhr 112 cab) the 212 with the Jensens sounds like crap... any idea is welcomed.


I love Greenbacks but using two of them is risky. I don't know the Badger 30, but most amps are a bit louder than the stated wattage and even if you don't blow up the Greenbacks, they might get stressed enough to make that horrible speaker cry. I use Celestion Heritage 65's in my 2x12 open back, and I can even use that cab with a 100 watt amp. They sound a lot like Greenbacks but just a little darker, which is actually good for open back cabs which are sometimes brighter because they pick up more reflections than closed back cabs. Make sure you buy 16 ohm speakers since 2x16 = 8 ohms.

Also like most speakers, the 65's need to be broken in to sound good. I run a tone at 30 Hz through them for 24 hours before I put them in the cab. That sounds complicated but it's easy to do. Just download a tone generator for your computer Set it at 30 Hz, and run the output of your computer to a small amp. I use my Fender Deluxe. I made a cable that goes from the amp's speaker output to two pairs of alligator clips so I could break in two speakers at once. Then just gradually turn up the volume until the speaker paper vibrates. Between 1 and 2 on the clean channel is loud enough. If the speakers make a rough flapping noise it's too loud - all you need to do is keep the paper vibrating for a day. If you don't feel like going through the hassle, just rock out with your cab for about two weeks and by then it'll sound it's best.
Crying or Very sad

Last edited by kirk95 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for the great insight, Scott. All the best.
Is it okay to yell "Movie" in a crowded firehouse?
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