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Scott answers your questions - round 2.18 - 11/23/10

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StarShip Captain

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

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:51 am    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 2.18 - 11/23/10 Reply with quote

Hi Scott,
Do you think that with all the information's out there like instructional books and DVD you tube video lessons and on and on the teacher figure still important or not?
Thank you for taking the time and answer our questions.
Still waiting for you here in Boston.

A private teacher can point out weaknesses in your playing and help you fix them. Also, the personal interaction between you and a teacher makes the lesson much more flexible than a video. If you hear the teacher play something you like, your questions about it could take the lesson into a whole different direction. I'm giving video lessons from my website - one guy wrote to me that he doesn't want a lesson on the subjects I listed. Instead, he's sending me videos of himself playing, and he wants me to help him to decide where he should put the most attention in his practicing, and give examples of how to do that. That's pretty much what I do at GIT. Teaching isn't only giving out vocabulary - I often listen to my students play and help them to sound their best with the vocabulary they already know.

Hi Scott!
I'm so sad you won't come to Brazil this time!
Between your favorite Plexi and the OD-100, which one would u choose ?

I was never very happy with my plexi, not because of tone, but because it was so loud that I had to use a variac with it, and even then the whole house would shake when I played it. I sold it a couple years ago. My '71 Marshall has been modded by John Suhr with a master volume, and it sounds so close to the OD-100 that I doubt if anyone could hear the difference in the tracks.

I can't understand how you put the volume all the way up on the RC booster! When i do it on mine, i get a killer high volume, and even lowering the volume pot on the guitar, it sounds extremely loud. How do you handle this ?

The simple answer is just turn down your amp, but if you have a non-master volume amp and it needs to be turned up to get enough gain, there's not much you can do. I like master volume amps since you can adjust the preamp to whatever gain you need, and adjust the volume of the amp separately.

Do you like the tone that Andy Timmons get out of his rig ? He uses mesa/boogie, a bb preamp and a pedal you hate - Tube Driver.
What r your thoughts about it ?
Hope you come to Brazil next time!

I think he gets great tone, but it wouldn't work for my style. I roll my guitar's tone knob down further than he does, so the SD-9 works better for me than the BB. I've never heard him play the Tube Driver, which to me isn't a very transparent sounding pedal. Every time I've heard Andy play, his tone was very clear and natural sounding, and of course he plays his ass off!

Hi Scott.
I have a couple of tone/gear related guestions for you.
You say you have the bass control at 0 when playing Marshalls and still have plenty of bass. My experience with Marshalls is just the opposite; even with the bass knob turned all the way up, there is not very much bass. I do tend to play at quite reasonable volume levels and never with a 4x12"-cab, as most of my gigs and rehersals are in small and medium size rooms.

The smaller cabinet is the reason. It can't produce the low bass frequency your Marshall is putting out. 4x12's have always been the norm for use with Marshalls, especially the 100 watt.

You've also mentioned on several occasions that you get a lot more bass with singlecoil pickups than with humbuckers.
Here again, to my ears it sounds I get more bass (as well as mids and low mids) out of humbuckers.

The smaller cabinet is the reason again. When I talk about bass, I mean low bass. I agree that humbuckers in a smaller cabinet can sound bigger than single coils, because they do have more low mid, but definitely not as much bass. Try single coils with a 4x12 and you'll hear what they're capable of.

My last question is about the difference I hear when comparing your sound on the Live-album to your studio recordings.
I think your sound on the Live-album is very good, but not "pretty much perfect" as on your studio albums. To me it sounds slightly fizzy and not as fat.
Recording guitar live is obviosly quite different than recording guitar in a studio, so do you think that could be the reason for the difference?

It could be a factor, but not the main factor since I brought my own mic preamp to the gig. The fizziness comes from needing to use a buffer, since I was using the rack system on that record as mentioned in 2.16, but the main difference is the pickups. The record was recorded before Suhr's SSC system, so I was using DiMarzio 2.2 noiseless pickups. My apologies to Steve Blucher at DiMarzio, because even though I think his pickups are the best at what they do, they just can't compare to real single coil pickups - not as smooth, and not as fat. I used Lindy Fralin pickups on Dog Party, and Suhr V60's on Tore Down House and Well To The Bone, and I agree, the tone on those records is better than on Live.

Hi Scott,

I know you are in a different tonal place these days but I thought you would be the best person to ask about the following:

If one wanted to get something like the tone you had in the early 90s in a miniature rig which could be used at small club (or even home) volumes, how would you go about it? Do you think it is possible to pull it off well? Do you think it advisable to have high wattage amps used at a fraction of their volume (or attentuated/power scaled) or simply a lower watt amp for this?

Definitely a lower watt amp. The Hot Rod Deluxe with a Celestion Heritage 65 speaker sounds great and is just the right volume for small gigs. I can get a good tone from my 100 watt rig at medium volumes, but not at really soft volumes - the tubes aren't working hard enough.

I was also curious, beyond using the Duncan 59s, do you think the stereo element was the most important part of what made the legato playing come across as so effortless and smooth? The stereo delay set-up you and Holdsworth among others used seems to smooth out the attack considerably.

Yes, that's part of it. A humbucker is better for legato playing, and stereo imaging & delay help diffuse the notes. I used 30 ms left, 60 ms right, at just enough volume to hear the stereo image, then 350 ms left, 450 ms right for delay, with just a little feedback. The 350 needs a little more feedback so it fades at the same time as the 450.

Lastly, along the same lines, if you wanted to have the liveliness of your current tone today but with a bit more more legato friendly aspect to it, beyond going back to the 59s and lowering the action, where would you begin? Would your first step be to use 2 heads in stereo?

I know you love your tone today (as do I) but I wondered if you ever felt like you wouldn't mind a bit more legato-friendly sound at times.

Thanks again

My current gear is set up for tone, not speed, though I somehow still manage to get some fast legato lines to work. To make legato playing easier, about all I can do is use more gain. The stereo thing doesn't work for me, though I like how it sounds where I'm standing. The problem is that most PA's are mono, and even if they were stereo, only the people sitting in the middle hear it the right way.

Hi Scott, do you ever get recognized on the street these days?

You're kidding, right? No, never.

Hi Scott,

More or less a mental question:

I listen to the best musicians in the world:
(scott henderson, holdsworth, miles, coltrane, and many more also some great dutch fusion guys like eef albers you know him? )

Yes, he's a great player!

My problem at the moment is this... when I play then I compare the timing/frasing etc to the best musicians and than there is something strange.
I know that i am just a baby starting playing the guitar  but I have it in my head the frasing. I can sing the solos of coltrane and davis etc.. but I can`t play it on the guitar in that way because I play just 5 year. I know that I must have patience… and I have… but when I play live..i can`t enjoy it because I think.. jesus it suck o jesus it is terrible and than my fingers getting cold.

But I love playing guitar.. and try to copy you. Any advise?

And I don`t want to be rude but maybe you can give me some effective guitar practice schedule advice? (what can I do in 1 hour or max 2 ours a day? Besides my normal job of selling steel in the netherlands)
Thanks in advance.
Greetings jos

That's good if you already have the phrasing in your head, because that's a major part of it. Now it's about building your vocabulary and chops until you feel more confident about your playing. You need to realize that no matter what level you get to, you'll always feel there are players out there with more vocabulary and chops than you, but it's not important. What's important is that you play whatever you already know with good tone and musicality. It's best not to compare yourself to others - we all have something unique which is worth developing. I'm not my own biggest fan either, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying playing music. I have a pretty big vocabulary and enough chops to get me by, but if I compare myself to Herbie Hancock, I'm just asking to be depressed. I can learn from listening to him or transcribing what he plays, but he's Herbie and I'll never have those kind of chops. That's OK, even though I know there are more accomplished players out there, it doesn't make me feel like I'm not contributing something of my own as well.

About practicing, spend equal amounts of time on playing lines, chord voicings, and melodies. Don't just practice scales, arpeggios, patters, shapes, and other "groups" of notes, but also practice on learning the chord tones all over the neck and making up your own melodies with them, especially on one individual string at a time. As far as disciplined practice, you're asking the wrong guy. I just practice whenever I can and never pay attention to how long my practice sessions are. I can tell you one important thing - never practice more than a half hour at a time without taking a short break. The brain gets fatigued and doesn't remember things as well when overworked. Taking short breaks every half hour will make you better remember what you've learned.

Hey Scott! I've been a fan for almost two years now. When I listen to you and Jeff Beck play, I truly can feel everything you're trying to say. Granted Jeff has the human voice on the electric guitar, nobody would argue that

Anyways, a few questions... I'll start off by asking, have you ever gotten to meet Jeff? If so, got anything to share on that?

No, I've never met him.

Do you have a favorite Jeff album?

I like Wired a lot, but they all have great moments.

This might be a bit long, but I really feel the need to share this/ask for some advice. My father is the lead guitar player for Shenandoah, a multi-Grammy winning country band from the 90's. Jim Seales, my pops, had guys like Vince Gill and Keith Urban (all great country pickers) idolize him from his live work and ability to create an amazing range of tones using only an 80's Ibanez Artist, a Boss GT-3 and a Musicman amp (sold it awhile back, don't remember much about it) Anyhow... to my question. As his twenty-two year old son with aspergers and according to people I know, a gift of being able to play music, I am somehow conflicted with where I want to take my musical abilities. Granted because of my dads previous status, I know exactly what I would be expecting if I was to ride the coats of a band or something. I know that I would like to avoid playing with a band or being in the mainstream side of it. The way I look at it, I would love to be a music teacher like my dad and play on the weekends or weekdays, however.

I suppose what I'm asking you is... As a musician, how do you see it affecting your personal life with family/friends? Also, do you think being a teacher has affected your growth musically in a positive or negative way? I only ask because my father told me that with certain players, they become too... by the book, so to speak. Not saying you are or anything, just curious on your thoughts.

My family and friends have always been very supportive of my career, and I guess I should feel lucky about that since I've heard many stories from musicians who's parents totally disapproved. Teaching has been a very positive musical experience for me, but I have to admit, the majority of my students can already play. I've never had to teach beginners and I don't think I'd enjoy that. No matter how much we learn about music, if we play with feeling, good phrasing and tone, we'll never sound "by the book". When I teach, I often play material which I need to practice myself, so sometimes I feel like I'm getting paid to do the same thing I'd be doing at home. Plus I've actually learned quite a few things from my students.

And my last question... if you could take one moment from your musical career, whether it be an album, a time you jammed with an idol, etc.. and you could relive it again, what would it be?
Thanks again for the time to read and answer, Scott. Keep doing what you do, please. For us.

When I was playing with Zawinul, we played a duet together every night. I would play chords and he would improvise over them. Having perfect pitch, he could immediately recognize the chords, so the duets often sounded like compositions. We played a duet together at a concert in Austria which I thought was the best one - magic from start to finish. I thought it was as good as some of the duets Joe and Wayne played together in Weather Report. It was the best thing I've ever improvised in my life, probably because Joe was the most inspiring musician I've ever worked with.

hi scott, in the many years that you teached at git, did you ever watch news/mtv whatever, and said "hey I know that guy, he used to be my student" etc?
if so, who's the most famous of them all?

I'm aware of former students who became famous, but not from watching the news or mtv. I'm not sure who the most famous one is - in the jazz world it's probably Frank Gumbale, but there have been some rock players who went through GIT who are even more famous. Musicians Institute has a "success stories" section on their website and it's pretty impressive.

Hi Scott!

You said you use a mixer with your SE-70.
For those who use stompboxes, what do u recommend ? The Xotic X-Blender ?

I don't know anything about the X-Blender, but I've heard good things about the VoodooLab Pedal Switcher.
It has buffered and non-buffered inputs - that's what got my attention, since I don't like the sound of buffers in switching systems. I think you're better off using all true bypass pedals - then you don't need a switching system.

Hey Scott, If the touring climate were to change, and clubs around the world started offering to pay for full cartage and all costs associated with getting your gear from one venue to the next, regardless of the size of your rig, would you add an arsenal of boutique/vintage modulation pedals to your rig? If so, would you divide the units up between a multi-amp setup?

Or would you stick with a single amp setup, and re-embrace a buffer-based switching system to allow you to keep your signal chain as uncluttered as possible, despite the additional units hitting the front end of your amp? Or, are you done with buffers period, and never looking back?

I'm definitely done with buffers, but the downside of that is having a small arsenal of pedals. If you go through more than about five true bypass pedals, things start getting weird. That might not be because of the pedals alone, but because of all the connectors and extra cable. I'd love to have 50 pedals on stage, but buffers don't sound natural to me.

Scott. Thx again 4 takin the time.

I'm currently in a jazz improv class. We are learning all sorts of songs, standards, some with heavy modulation, some not.

When asked about how to understand how to fluidly solo through changes, he advocated playing in strict positions and playing only arpeggios or only the designated chord scale.

I asked if in terms of building a vocabulary transcribing solos (involving the changes on which you are working) would be the best way.

He said that he thought the scales and arpeggios were a more effective way.

Do you have any thoughts on this (transcribing versus strict chord scale/arpeggio playing)?



There is no "better way". Good improvisors use every tool available to them - chord tones, scales, arpeggios, transcription - it's all good.

Hi Scott!

How big is the sound room (where you have the cabinet miced up) in your home studio?

About 11' x 11'

Is it separate room of the house that you had sound proofed or did you build a sound proof booth in a larger room?

Many thanks!

It's just a small bedroom, next to the bedroom which is the studio with my amps, mic pre, computer and monitors. The windows in both rooms were drywalled up, so no problems with the neighbors, but the real way to do the cabinet room is to "float" the floor, which means separate it from the rest of the house. That was too pricey for me, so luckily my family can deal with feeling a little bass around the house when I'm recording.

1. What amp do you use when you try out the pedals at True Tone?

Fender Deluxe.

2. How many Chuck E Cheese pizzas are we away from the new album?

Thank you, Scott!

Good question. I'll only eat their pizza if I'm stuck there for hours and really hungry… even then I might pass. So looking at it that way, the new Tribal Tech should be released around 2020. Substitute Round Table (good BBQ chicken pizza), and I'd say we'll be done around the end of February and they'll release it late spring. I'm still writing for a solo album, but not having much luck unfortunately. Most of what I write gets deleted after I hear it the next day. I don't ever give up though, so I'll get it together sooner or later.

Hey Scott!

When changing between 11's and 10's on the same guitar do you adjust the set up every time (string height, tremolo spring tension etc.)?

All the best!

I don't change string gauges on the same guitar for that reason, having to re-adjust everything. The string height doesn't seem to change enough to notice, but the spring tension does, so say goodbye to that nicely tuned note you get by pulling the bar all the way up. I have mine set to a major 3rd on the G string. Also, at least on Suhr guitars, the nut is cut very precisely, so 11's could hang up in a nut cut for 10's.

hey once again

i set up my 3 springs like that "use the two end hoes and the middle hole on the block and the inside three hooks on the claw" (quoted from previous answer of yours).

once i did that the bridge took a really weird angle and now its really out of its place and angled in a way that the inside part of it rubs against the wood and im wondering if this is dangerous for the guitar or as supposed to be.

That definitely shouldn't happen. The block should stay parallel to the wood. The only thing I can think of which might cause that is a spring with much more tension than the other springs. Try different springs, like from the same set which you can buy at any music store that sells Fender parts - maybe that'll fix the problem.

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