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Scott answers your questions - round 6 - 9/28/04

 
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kirk95
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Joined: 14 May 2004
Posts: 278
Location: Boulder, CO

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:02 pm    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 6 - 9/28/04 Reply with quote

I'd like to know any techniques to reduce physical tension in my playing. I play too hard with both hands, which compromises intonation, tone and endurance. I never took lessons, and this has been an ongoing bad habit that is hard to break. I used to the think it was stage nerves, but I also catch myself doing this in band rehearsals and practing alone. I notice some lateral neck movement when I play (sitting or standing). The headstock tends to move around a bit, and I wonder if this indicates bad technique. It's more apparent when fretting notes, and less when playing chords. I don't see this when watching other players.

Quote:

I'm not a technique expert so I suggest that you talk to one of those musician's physical therapists. We have one that makes occasional visits to GIT and I'm sure you could find one in your area. My answer would be to lighten up and don't play so hard - but that's too simple an answer if there's an underlying reason for your problem.


Do hand exercises, away from the guitar, help at all? How about squeezing rubber balls or that "GripMaster" exercise device? The GripMaster doesn't seem to position the fingers in the same location as over the fretboard, so I wonder if there is any value to it. (I suspect that regular practice on the guitar is adequate for hand strengthening.)

Quote:

I've never done any exercises, I just play a lot. I should warn you that I've seen a few students do some real damage to their hands and backs by practicing for long periods of time, or the wrong way, so if you're concerned about it you should see an expert at least once.


Which Larrivee acoustic did you use on "well to the bone" ? Do you still have her?

I know you had 5 Suhr guitars (2 HSH, 2 SSS and a tele). Which one of them did you kept and why?

Quote:

I can't remember the model numbers of my Larrivee's - I still have them , and I love the way they record. I have the smaller body ones - a 6 and 12 string. If you really need to know you could call Larry Lingle at Larrivee. I still have all my Suhr guitars.


Hey Scott. I use DP3 at home and wondered if you are able to achieve as good a recorded tone at home as you do in a bigger studio? If not, what do you feel is the difference- gear, the space, other engineer's ears or what?

Quote:

I think I get a better tone at home than I do in most other studios. I use a Studer D19 mic pre which has it's own A/D converters, so I go digital straight from the mic pre into the computer, and I think that's better than going through those long analog cables that most studios have. But what I don't have is a huge wood room where a room mic can add nice things to the tone. The recording room at my house is nicely tuned, but much smaller, so room mics don't sound that good. Using a close mic works for me though and during the mix I can use gear to simulate rooms or whatever. I go to a pro studio to mix because I don't have a great board or outboard gear. I trust my ears enough to track guitar by myself, but for anything else I rely on a pro engineer.


What is your preferred signal chain at home AND in a commercial setting?

Quote:

I keep it really simple - guitar to pedal to amp with the shortest cables possible and of course I don't play through buffers, or pedals that I'm not using, etc. The speaker cable is really important - I like Marshall 10 gage Sound Runner and it's best to keep it no longer than 20-30 feet to the cabinet.


Scott, why did Willis move to Spain, is he still playing, seems that moving to another country/culture is a drastic thing to do?

Quote:

I don't think he'd mind if you know... he married a Spanish girl. Of course he's still playing and you can check his schedule out at garywillis.com


And in the same vein, have you ever considered moving out of L.A. and if so where would you prefer to live?

Quote:

I love LA.



If you were'nt a professional musician, what would you be doing to make a living?

Quote:

CEO of Vivid Entertainment.


Do your parents and or brothers and sisters actually understand what it is you do for a living? Do your Mom or Dad ever ask you when are you gonna' get a "real" job!

Quote:

They did when I first started, but later they realized that some people are actually lucky enough to make money doing music.


Any other musicians in the family?

Quote:

No


Are your dogs allowed on the furniture at home, and do they hang out with you at home when you are working/recording? Ever take them to work with you at GIT or into other studio's?

Quote:

They're allowed on the furniture, they love the studio, and until the time when my beagle Moose took a big dump during Ron Eschete's chord melody class, they were allowed to come with me to GIT. During the mixing of Face First, my doberman Leetle had an accident of the diarrhea variety in the hallway of Cherokee Studios and pretty much cleared that place out for the day, so I've eased back on taking the dogs to work.


Would you agree that Canines are the guitar players of the animal kingdom?

Quote:

I don't know, I usually associate public bodily excretions with drummers.


What's the worst guitar/amp that you've ever owned and gigged with? That S.G. guitar in your uber afro days looks pretty funky!

Quote:

For awhile I was using these midi-switching Marshalls that were built more like computers than amps. They didn't sound terrible but they broke down daily and nobody knew how to fix them. My worst guitar was the result of an even worse decision to put a Kahler bridge on my SG.


Also, in your Afro/early 70's funk/horn band period, where you ever known to wear huge platform shoes that were all the rage at the time?

Quote:

Never left home without them.


I tried this question in a separate thread and didn't get any bites, so I'll go right to Scott. From your gear section, it looks like you're running the SE70 inside the amp's effects loop. So are you using it only for reverbs, delays, and the occasional weird effect (envelope filter and whatnot)? I had the impression from an interview I read awhile back that you dug the analog distortions as well. I've been playing around with mine, and haven't hit on anything that feels really great yet. Any tips (or presets) you'd care to share?

Quote:

I don't use the distortions - they're horrible. I use the ring mod, pitch shifter, and the step chorus makes great weird sounds. I'm too lazy to write the patch settings down - I back them up with SysEx. Just keep messing with it - it's a pretty powerful unit for it's size.


Hi Scott. You mentioned that Allan Holdsworth showed you how to use stereo delays to fatten up the sound. I was wondering if you could share this knowledge with us? I've always been wondering how Allan sets his delay.

Quote:

Just check out a Yamaha UD-Stomp. Allan programmed lots of great delay settings in it, and not only do you get the sounds, but you get all the written settings so you can use them in your computer plug-ins or other devices.


Do you have any improvising advice for guitarists? Do you do anything consciously 'different' than others to set you apart from others?

Quote:

Transcribe and no.


Whats a good song to transcribe for a rookie transcriber? Whats a a hot tip for transcribing too.

Quote:

Anything is good but stay away from Stravinsky for awhile. Get the bass note first and then listen for 3rds and 7ths.


Had any experience with hollowbodies like an ES3-35?

Quote:

None.


What is your opinion about shows like American Idol. Do you find it entertaining or shitty that they make music a competition etc...

Quote:

I love American Idol, but only the bad audition part. Nothing's funnier than talentless people who take themselves seriously. William Hung is awesome. I'm also way into Mrs. Miller, Spinal Tap, and Kenny G.


Whats your opinion on Miles Davis. You might of been a bit late but have you ever thought of what woulda/coulda happened if you played with him?

Quote:

Actually he asked me to play with him after Robben Ford left, but I turned down his offer to take the Joe Zawinul gig. I love Miles but for me Joe is the man.


You say you're talking to a Australian promoter about a tour in early 2005 (im psyched!!) Is it Vorticity by any chance?

Quote:

Yes


Plus I know its out of your hands, but is there any possibility of it NOT being a 18+show,particularly in the Brisebane area (Im only 14 ) I miss out on a lot of the few good acts that come across Australia.

Quote:

That's up to the venue, but I think they ought to let under 18's in. But stay away from the bar you kids.


You say you cant read music... is it that you cant read music at all, or are just crap at it. How do you get by when playing for other people or session playing etc..

Quote:

Crap is the perfect word to describe my reading ability. Everyone that I've ever worked with has either given me a tape or CD, or let me have the charts way before the rehearsals.


hi Scott!

I live in Luxembourg, not too far from the Route 66 club in Belgium you played in last winter. I'm a fusion player writing and playing original stuff, also do TV and radio jingle stuff, some theatre music, some studio stuff and of course the occasional boat gigs...anyway,I ve been thinking of giving it a try and move to california for some time, but the odds for "success" in terms of jobs, gigging, or the scene in general seem somewhat foggy - you only get the usual myths about the US scene over here, that it's so incredibly tough and "elbowish", great but jobless players on every corner, that all american acts come to Europe cause nobody gives a damn about them in the US, that a lot of players now move either to Europe or to NYC, blah blah etc.. but fact is that a lot of Europeans have always been attracted by american cities and their scenes and regularly move over there too...

So I guess my question, even if somewhat difficult to answer, is:

Is it worth it coming over?? Can one make a livin in, say, LA, or SF? I've been over there a few times but just on vacation and saw a few gigs, I could't really say something about the general vibe. Is there a real scene that actually allows for real life contacts with real people eventually turning into real projects or gigging bands??
Thanks for any hints...! Needless to say, I really really love what you do , it's just inspiring stuff!

Thanks,
Claude

Quote:

Thanks Claude. Yes, there's definitely a big music scene in LA that allows for real life contacts with real people eventually turning into real projects or gigging bands - which usually don't pay any real money. It's mainly about original music here, and those gigs don't pay much, if anything. There are top 40 clubs, but mostly way out in the suburbs, and a big casuals scene if you don't mind wearing a tux. The good money gigs are in the studios, but it's a tough scene to break into. That being said, moving to LA or anywhere new is always a crap shoot - it's 50% about talent and 50% about meeting the right people, being at the right place, right time, etc.


1. Are you coming to Finland soon/ever(to play)? I've heard Tribal Tech was here ('94 etc) in Tornio(?)..

Quote:

We go anywhere there's a promoter that wants us and we'd love to come to Finland! If you know of a cool club or know a promoter, have them contact our agent.


2. Have you 48 sec time? http://www.ratol.fi/~ipihkako/mp3/mp3/komero/48longseconds.mp3

Quote:

Cut 80% of the notes or you'll never get any airplay. Just kidding - sounds good.


thoughts on the Bogner 410 cab w/ blk frames? which head/output do you normally run into these cabs?

Quote:

Great speakers and a great sounding, lightweight cabinet. I use it with my Bandmaster head at 8 ohms. The cabinet with Kendrick Blackframes will handle about 60 watts.


What inspired you and how did you guys come up with the tune 'King Twang'? It's such a killer kick ass tune and performance!!

Quote:

Thanks but sorry, I don't remember. We wrote and recorded all that music in eight days so it's all a blur at this point. In general, Steve and Victor came up with the grooves, we all came up with more rhythmic ideas and I added most of the harmony and melodies.


Would you ever be interested in doing a cd with Allan Holdsworth?

Quote:

I answered that question in #3, but I think Allan is a brilliant musician.



When you solo, are you hearing melodies on your guitar that you then play and if so, about how far in advance are you hearing/playing to?

Quote:

I'm going to guess and say 1.3872 milliseconds


I LOVE your chord book and wondered what percentage of those chords are in your regular repertoire?

Quote:

Another guess - probably about half.


LOVE your videos too and wondered what you used for backing tracks?

Quote:

Just my Digital Performer practice sequences with an Korg M1 as the sound source.


1-I saw an ad in a blues magazine for a cd called "Ratso" that listed Scott Henderson as one of the guitarists- is this you?

Quote:

Yes, Ratso put a workshop together for me when we were touring on the east coast and I played on one track of his album.


Also, any way you could create a section of your web page that would list projects that you guest on, and how much you played on them? I might buy something if you were only on 1 or 2 tracks, but i would probably buy something that had you on 9 or 10 tracks.

Quote:

I haven't really done all that much recording for other people, but if something comes out that I get to play a lot on, I'll put it on the site.


2-Somewhere there's a recent live pic, and you're using your regular amp and cab, and also a i think a fender amp and cab, but it said only your regular cab was mic'd- i was curious what the other amp and cab were for?

Quote:

It's my Fender Bandmaster and a Bogner 4x10 cab - I like using 12's and 10's together.


3-You said that when you play blues and you're soloing, you don't have to think- i was wondering if that happened naturally just from constant practicing and gigging, or somewhere along the way you made a conscious decision to just start "going for it"?

Quote:

I was just comparing playing blues to playing jazz and that I usually have to think more when playing over changes - but no matter what kind of music you play, the goal should be to play what you feel without having to think so much about the technical stuff, and of course the ability to do that comes from practicing and gigging a lot.


4-Would you ever consider buying a small DAT recorder to record your local gigs with, and then put them on the website in lo-fi, to be downloaded for a small fee, sort of like what Wayne Krantz does on his website? There are lots of fans who will probably never get to see you play live, and i'm sure most wouldn't mind the lo-fi quality if it meant hearing some live stuff on a regular basis?

Quote:

That's a cool idea - we've talked about doing that but it just hasn't happened yet.


5-This might be a touchy topic, but do you care to share your feelings on the upcoming election?

Quote:

I think Dave Chappell and Wayne Brady would be a good ticket. Whatever works for the Governator should work for Dave.


6-Do your dogs ever fight at home, and if so, how do get them to get along?

Quote:

There's an occasional skirmish, but nothing serious.


7-You almost always seem to have the vibrato bar in your hand when you play nowadays- was this something you practiced at, or do you just kind of let it happen as you're playing?

Quote:

As I started using the bar more often it just seemed natural to have it in my hand while I pick. I never really practiced it, and for awhile I didn't even realize I was doing it. When I did realize that it's in my hand more often than not, I decided to shorten the bar by about an inch and a half so I'd pick in the right place for better tone. It also makes the bar harder to push down which I like.


1. Do you usually work through a composition in a single sitting, or are ideas saved and brought together over time?

Quote:

Saved for weeks sometimes - but I've also gotten lucky and written songs really fast.


2. Do you sequence excerpts as you are composing, or is it all chicken scratch on paper until a completed draft exists?

Quote:

Everything I do goes into the computer so I can listen back to it.


3. When/If you get to a point of not hearing the next part of a piece, do you have any type of quantifiable strategy that helps you find it?

Quote:

I get away from it for awhile, sometimes a for few days, then I play it back and when it reaches the end hopefully I'll hear a continuing idea.


4. Do you take a lot of ideas from previously improvised recordings (sessions etc...), or do you start with a blank slate and simply produce?

Quote:

I've gotten ideas from jams or whatever, but most of the time I'm starting from scratch.


5. What percentage of your time is spent at the piano vs.. guitar for composition?

Quote:

I've never composed on piano.


6. How much input do you take from the others in your groups as far as tune structure/arrangement? I.e. do you bring in rough ideas, or fully polished works?

Quote:

It depends on the tune. Sometimes I need the musicians to play what's written, and sometimes it's loose and they can improvise.


What do you think of snotty jazz musicians who think jazz should be played all acoustically and not with electric guitar or electric bass?

Quote:

I feel sorry for closed minded people.


Have you ever run into trouble trying to sit in with other jazz musicians who have given you a hard time for being "electric" or "fusion"?

Quote:

No, I've actually had some great times playing with straight-ahead jazz musicians who liked my approach and tone. But I've had a few conversations with some of those jazz snobs so I know what you're talking about - I'm glad I never had to play with them.


Also, when a dog misbehaves or doesn't obey, what is the most effective and non-violent way to deal with the problem?

Quote:

P-dog got in the garbage again tonight and re-decorated the kitchen, so I'm afraid I'm not qualified to answer your question.



Hi Scott,
First I want to say thanks - for a fantastic live performance in a small club in Graz, Austria this year. I was truly impresed by your live playing, sound and how much music just a trio can produce. Also I was surpsised that Kirk is such a great singer besides being a monster drummer (he shook the stage and the whole building - literally

Quote:

Thanks Marco - that was a fun show!



The question:

I would like to get your opinion on stainless steel frets and also I would like to ask why you prefer alder guitars - compared to swamp ash or other woods. Hope you are not too fed up with gear questions.

Quote:

No problem, I like talking about gear. I've never tried stainless steel frets through an amp - I played a Suhr that had them and it felt really smooth but John told me they're a bit brighter so I'm staying away from them. My tone knob is on 3 as it is. Same reason for alder - it's darker than the other strat woods.


Hi Scott.
What pedal/s did use for The song "Tore Down House"?

Thanks,
Bruce

Quote:

I used an old Ibanez TS-808 through a Custom Audio 3+ preamp with a Boogie 290 power amp and Vintage 30 speakers.


I was wondering why you decided to 'revisit' Rituals on Well To The Bone. Also, I remember reading somewhere that, when you compose, you start with a rhythm track and then build up the composition from there. Is this still the way you work?

Quote:

I didn't have enough music written for trio when we first started so I learned a few Tribal Tech tunes that I could get away with playing without keyboards. I started digging the trio arrangement of Rituals more than the way we played it on Nomad so I thought it would be cool to record the new version.

Yes, I always start with a rhythm track and jam or sing ideas over it because it feels more natural to me to compose as much as I can in real time.



Hi Scott,
what's the gear you use in Vitaltechtones VTT2 album, on "Nairobe Express"?

Quote:

For that session I had my OD100 and my Marshall and I can't remember which amp I used on which tune.



You have a sound like a sinth...It's the same gear that you play live this tune?

Quote:

All of those processed sounds come from my SE-70, so I have them live as well.


What you have used for the loop on the second part of the tune?

Quote:

There's a Fulltone Octafuzz on some of the parts, and an Arion chorus.


On your Suhr with humbukers, wich is the pick up height from the strings? Thank you for the great gig in Montalcino Italy with blues trio!

Quote:

On the treble pickup it's 1/8th of an inch from the top of the plastic part of the pickup to the high E string, and the bass side is a little lower. The neck pickup is much lower - I don't measure it, I just lower it until the two pickups are the same volume.

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