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Scott answers your questions - round 2.12 - 9/18/10

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StarShip Captain

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

PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:14 pm    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.12 - 9/18/10 Reply with quote


I've learned so much from you that there's only one question left.
Please be my psychiatrist: my greatest loves are jazz, fusion & rock.
Weather Report rocks my world, so do you, esp. the Tribal Tech works.
The list goes on.

BUT, I also enjoy Lady Gaga - totally & honestly. What's wrong
with me? Is there a cure for this dance disease?
-Thanks for being the patriarch of balls in fusion music, and
the relentless tone hound you are.

I'm not qualified to be anyone's psychiatrist, but I can tell you that Lady Gaga disease is very common. I have Beyonce disease myself - I'm quite addicted to her. I think we'll be OK and there's no reason to worry.

Hi Scott,
first of all many thanks for answering questions here.
In the previous gear page on your web site,you said that "Dog party" was done with re-issue '57 Strat with Lindy Fralin pickups then you said that for "Tore down house" you used the same guitar with suhr pickups in it.
Are you sure it was the same guitar?( i ask because in the cover you have a red strat with rosewood neck and it looks like a '62)
Was that a custom shop or an american vintage? and pickups were v60`s?
Hope you can remember because the ending of the song tore down house is my favourite guitar tone since years...

Maybe it looks more red on the cover, but it's Fiesta Red, which is actually bright orange. The same guitar was used on both records - Lindy Fralin's for Dog Party and V60's for Tore Down House. I don't know the term American Vintage, but I paid only 800 bucks for it, so it wasn't a custom shop guitar. Sorry if I said '57 - it was a '62 re-issue made in the '90's. The gear on that song was a Tube Screamer, Custom Audio 3+ preamp (channel 1) and Boogie 290 power amp.

Hi Scott, have you tried the reissued Black Cat pedals? I recently picked up the OD-Fuzz and it seemed like something you would dig. Silicon/Germanium Fuzz Face into the CAE Freddy Fuzz circuit. I rewired mine so you can toggle between either side - stock you can cascade them.
Would love to know what you think if you do get to try one : )

I've heard some of the Black Cat pedals but haven't heard the OD-Fuzz. It's now on the list for my next visit to True Tone. Thanks!

Also, curious to know if you've worked with running a real amp into speaker impulses? I've tried some of the Redwirez impulses (Basketweave greenback4x12) and have been getting decent results.

I have friends who use Redwirez - they like it too. I'm addicted to my Shure 57 and Kerry Wright 4x12 cab. I've been using the Suhr 18 watt Badger and it sounds incredible, so that's how I record while the family's asleep.

Hi, Scott,
I was listening to the radio one day and I was very impressed with the amount of soulless music that is going on. In general, the talk is cheap, grooves are great but become very repetitive after a while. Do you have any idea why the (pop) music business, mainly in the USA, is so coward and poor?
Thanks, Zep

I'm not qualified to answer because I don't listen to the radio. I can say that there's great music to be found in just about every style, but the radio probably isn't the best place to look for it, at least not in this country.

Hey Scott,

I love how you always tell people to improve you need to transcribe. What are your favorite things you've transcribed? and what exactly is your process? do you write it all out? or just start working it into your playing? and what do you think about those that say copying note for note doesn't promote creativity and your own originality?

I tell my students all the time "if you think music school alone is going to teach you how to play, you're kidding yourself". Students learn the technical aspects of music at a school, and they're important, but not as important as phrasing, creativity, and good tone. That you learn from your CD collection.

The way to transcribe, and the amount you do it, depends on your level of playing. When I was a kid, I used to record solos by Page, Beck, Hendrix, and Blackmore on the left side of my reel to reel tape recorder, and record myself on the right, trying to play the solos exactly note for note. I might have learned a lick here and there, but as a beginner, this kind of transcription taught me how to phrase. Without transcription, that process would've taken much longer. Listening so closely to those solos also taught me to hear the stylistic and tonal differences between my favorite players. I did this type of transcription when I first got into jazz as well.

Some transcription is good for use in your own playing, while some is mainly for inspiration. Some of my favorite things I've transcribed are from Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter - I'd put those more in the inspirational category, because the material is so melodic and played for the moment, it doesn't often work when trying to stick it somewhere else. The material that I've been able to work into my own playing is more lick oriented - from hundreds of different musicians on many different instruments, everyone from Albert King to Michael Brecker. This type of transcription is how we build our vocabulary, which we do for many years, or at least until we feel that the ideas we make up are as good as the ones we're transcribing - at that point, we don't need to transcribe as much. I got a little burnt out because I've done it so much that almost everything I'd transcribe was very close to something I'd transcribed before. These days I transcribe for concepts, not licks - if I hear an "out" phrase and don't recognize the tonality, I'm curious to find out where it came from.

Here are some tips for lick oriented transcribing:
Write ideas down, or record them, just so you don't forget them.
Work on one idea at a time until you feel like you're playing it naturally (that can take weeks).
Play into the new idea and keep playing afterwards so it's seamless with your own lines.
Keep ideas short, 4 to 8 notes at the most - the shorter it is, the more likely you'll use it.
Think of it as a new word to use in one of your own sentences.

I always try to phrase an idea differently than the way I learned it, starting it on a different beat, playing it as triplets, playing only a portion of it, whatever I can do to make it sound like me, not just a quote from another musician. I also change the tonality - for example if I learn it as a melodic minor line, I play it as an altered or lydian dominant line, or in whichever mode I want. If I learn it as a major line, I try it as a phrygian or dorian line. This way transcribing isn't just copying someone else note for note - it's learning a new blueprint which you can build on however you want.

and last if you had to do it again would you become a musician? thanks again too cool that you answer here.

One of the funniest things Joe Zawinul would say when he got frustrated with the music business was "I coulda been a fuckin' doctor". To be on his level and say that makes it seem pretty hopeless for the rest of us. But yeah, I'd do it again - it's not the steadiest gig, but it's a lot of fun.

Hi Scott!

What are your thoughts about the JCM series, specialy the jcm 800, 100w model ?

I don't like the JCM series at all, 800 or 900. The DSL 100w sounds much better - I've rented one many times when I couldn't bring my Suhr.

Have you tried Paul Reed Smith guitars?

No, but I've heard them and didn't care for the tone. Of course, that could have been more about the player than the guitar. The only fair statement I can make is that I've yet to hear anyone get tone I liked with one. I've picked some of them up and immediately put them down because they were super heavy - that's not a good sign. They seem to be made to look pretty more than sound good, and from what I've heard, the majority of people who buy them aren't pro musicians, but doctors and lawyers who like to say look at my guitar, not listen to my guitar.

I saw a video on YT where you say that distortion/od pedals take the bass away from the original tone of the amp, and that the RC booster is the only pedal who DOESN'T do this. So, i assume that the SD9 might suck some bass of your tone. How do you handle this situation?

I did that video for Xotic so it seemed inappropriate to mention other company's pedals. The Maxon SD-9 and the Klon Centaur have plenty of bass. In fact, the mod to lower the bass frequency of the RC Booster was done using my SD-9 as the example. Those RC's were originally made as Scott Henderson models, but Xotic liked the mod and decided to put it in all the current RC Boosters.

How often do you use the 2 and 4 positions of the Strat ?
Thnx for helping!

More when I record than when I play live. I use them more for rhythm parts than soloing.

Hello scott..!

Thanks for all the informations, stories and advises you have shared here.
I`ve got a few questions for you.

1) I`ve a fender strat which has stock pick-ups on it which doesnt sound thats good. I need some recommendation for single coil pickups other then the Suhr FL pickups. I couldn`t swing the prices of the Suhr FL pickups together with the Suhr BPSSC system. Any other pickup recommendation..?

Sorry, I really have no idea of what's out there these days, because I've been using either FL's or V60LP's for such a long time.

2) Whats the main difference between a Maxon sd-9 and a Maxon vop9..? Which sound better on a single coil pickup.? And lastly, What other drive pedals or any cool pedals that you like.?

The SD-9 and VOP-9 are EQ'd differently in the midrange. I'd say the SD-9 sounds more "in your face" with a higher mid frequency, while the VOP-9 has more low mid so it sounds more scooped. Personally I like the SD-9 more, but I have friends who prefer the VOP-9. Even with the difference in mid EQ, they still sound pretty similar to each other and have the same feel. A description doesn't really do it - you'd need to hear them both side by side to know which one works best for you. The only other high gain pedal I really like is the Klon Centaur, which has yet another flavor of midrange.

3) Will you be touring around the south east asia region anytime soon.? Try to swing by Malaysia if you can next time.

Scott, Hope you`re having a good time doing what you do. It been a great pleasure listening to your music. Keep it up dude..! And keep Talking using your guitar. =) All the best.

I hope to do an Asian tour with my trio in March.

Hi Scott, thanks for taking time out to answer questions you once said something to the effect that writing new tunes can be an arduous process especially-so considering you have a back catalogue of stuff that you've put out there already and you don't really want to repeat things; trying to keep things fresh. I really dig your solo albums a lot & I realize you're busy with a lot of other music these days i.e. Tribal Tech, Kinsey, the upcoming Berlin-Chambers trio thing etc but was wondering how many tunes you have at this point for your next solo effort and perhaps if you have in mind when you're going to record & put another solo album out?

I'm embarrassed to say I have the same three new tunes I had at this time last year. I'm so lame... But I've been busy with other stuff, not just music, but being a dad to a first grader and two four month old puppies. After the Tribal Tech and Kinsey records, and the tours in October and November, it's back to writing. Actually I had a fourth tune started but trashed it after listening to it and realizing it sucked.

Hi,Scott I'm your biggest fans from Jakarta, i have some question for you:

1. Your purple ibanez guitar, for me is the coollest guitar color in the world, can you tell us where do you got the inspiration to have that color to be your trademark guitar color in your Tribal Tech era

It was one of the colors they showed me at Ibanez - I thought it was the best color they had at the time.

2. I have 2 video from you,Jazz Fusion Improvisation & melodic phrasing
but i notice some different in color , in jazz fusion video is dark blue and in melodic phrasing is purple, it is true? do you mean to change the color of your guitar or it's just photographic issues?

It's just the lighting.

3. Where do name "Tribal Tech" come From (from You or Willis)? and where the inspiration to have the name come from?

I came up with the name, which in our minds was mixing old with new. At that time we were using a lot of percussion instruments along with synths & electronic sounds, so the name seemed to fit. We even used the concept on our first three album covers - a old spear with tech lighting, an old man in a modern looking laboratory (as modern as the art director could make it on that budget), and an Indian from the future telling a story to his ancient tribe. Kinda cheesy but at the time we thought it was cool.

4. in round 3 you write "If you're looking for great songs, great melodic improv and great sounds, you can't go wrong with Weather Report. Check out Talespinnin', Black Market, Heavy Weather, Mr. Gone, Night Passage, 8:30 - that's 6 of the 12 right there."
what is mean with melodic improv (also melodic phrasing like your Brilliant Video lesson), it is mean "motif development" improvising?

It simply means the melodies aren't fast like in most fusion music, but played more like a singer would sing. Weather Report was more about simple melodies and complex harmony. Motific development is taking a musical idea and keeping it's general shape, but changing the notes to fit the chord changes, instead of coming up with a brand new idea for every chord.

5.I'm wondering do you like compostition and playing Clare Fischer? (one of Herbie Hancock most favourite musician) i listen to one of his composition "gaviota", what a great song , and when he improv he using a lot of great development.

I think Clare is a great musician. I worked with him on Jeff Berlin's album Champion.

6. I read an article from Dave Liebman about jazz ryhthm and he says that in Miles Davis Quintet, each member have different beat placement of notes, like Miles and Ron Carter : Middle of the beat,Tony Williams : Top of the beat, Herbie Hancock : all over the place. He also said that Elvin Jones is famous for Laid Back Feel,

i can understand that statement for the Gitar,Sax,Piano,Trumpet player, but i can't understand if the attributes give to drummer and player,isn't that the drummer is the reference point of time in band (especially in ride cymbal), so the drummer time must considered as exact middle beat of the band, or just the ride cymbal playing considered as middle beat and the atrributes for the drummer like top of the
the beat or behind the beat comes from his/her playing of another drumkit like tom,snare,etc that is top or behind his/her ride cymbal playing. And for the bassist too when he/she do the
walking isn't that must considered as exact middle beat? or the attribute top of the beat or behind the beat for bassist given when he solo? sorry Scott for my bad english

Everyone has their own time feel, and it can be perfectly in time, or a bit ahead or behind the beat. That goes for drummers too. I love Elvin, he's one of my favorite drummers because of his amazing creativity and loose time feel - I think it's soulful, and I'd rather play with that kind of drummer any day than with a drummer who has a stiff and rigid time feel. I hate drummers who play perfect - it's so boring.

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