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Scott answers your questions - round 40 - 2/ 26/08

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StarShip Captain

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

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:48 am    Post subject: Scott answers your questions - round 40 - 2/ 26/08 Reply with quote

im looking at a Fuzz Factory. The Original is 'hand painted' and does not have a 9vDC input but the vextor ( i think thats the name ) version has a the power input and a screen printed face. Does powering the unit via battery do anything to the tone in your opinion? I love the sound, but would like to be able to power it via an outlet rather than a battery. Its also far cheaper. analogueman says its the same internally but yeah... Any thoughts? Fuzz face perhaps?

I have a friend who has the version with the 9v jack and he was complaining about it, because he heard me play mine live and he said his didn't sound like that. So he brought it over and we compared them - he was right. His sounded thin and had almost no bass. I was pretty surprised cause I thought they'd all sound the same. So get rid of yours and get an old one.

Also, looking at an SD9 with the super mod from analogue man and an RC booster to go with a reynolds amp (home grown aussie valve amps). I dont want super hi gain, just something with a little more gain than a TS9 but a little warmer in the mids too, not so harsh - am I on the right track? Unfortunately I dont have access to much of this gear, let alone at the same time to A:B them

The RC Booster is great, but the Maxon OD-9 will blow your Ibanez Tube Screamer out the door, modded or unmodded. It's the best Tube Screamer ever made.

PS - come out to Australia ya goon! theres a massive following down here! And depending where you play, there'll be tones of sheelas!!! (girls)
Thanks for the inspiration mate

Hi Scott!
I am having troubles when i play jazz solos because i donīt have that "jazz swing" yet. Jazz is something new for me and I can not make my solos sound too jazzy. Do you have any advice for this (apart from listening a lot of jazz...)? I have the theory that because I have never been exposed to jazz before (thanks to the great media culture) I can not getting it yet.

You need to study with a private teacher who plays good jazz, at least until you get the feel thing down. After that you can go back on your own and just transcribe, but lessons with a great player/teacher are invaluable.

Any news with your blues book and/or your new record?

Still writing for a new album (sorry it's taking forever...) and Hal Leonard is very close to getting the book finished.

I have found a jazz rock blog (then I pass you the address if you want)
with tones of your cds with Tribal, Ponty, Berlin and some live stuffs as well and I have always ask myself what is your opinion about "piracy" (is that the word? I do not speak English very well). Is this that bad for a musician that does not sale a lot of copies -of course, not you- or is this actually bad for the label company? A friend of mine says that the real money for a musician is in touring and not selling copies.

Of course it makes musicians mad when people steal their music, but hopefully they hear a little something they like and then go out and actually buy something. My touring does pay more than my royalty checks, but I sometimes wonder how much money I loose to pirates. Probably not that much.

Tell us some funny story about NAMM. I donīt know... have you found any angry Scientology dude? Have you seen the Satriani guitar with the silver surfer? For what I can see on pictures you were trying some new equipment.

I didn't see anything new I really liked, and the funniest things going on were the clams I was playing at the Suhr booth. But will someone please tell me why rock chicks think fake tits make them look more attractive? I can spot fakies from a mile away. I think there were more of them at NAMM this year than ever. Anyway, I don't get it.

PD: Do you warm up before a show? Last time here I saw you 5 mins before the show laughing with the girls from the theaterīs staff and then you play awesome.
We wait for you here in Argentina in fall!

Warming up doesn't do much for me, though it's important that my hands are warm. If they're cold I run hot water on them for a few minutes before I play.

Hi Scott,
I already posted this question, but not in this "sticky" section. I saw you perform, and play your butt off this past Wednesday at La Ve Lee. STELLAR!
You asked me to go to your website, and contact you for Kerry Wright's info. I loved the sound of your new open back 4X12 cab, so here is my reminder to 'ya!

I sent you his number - hope you got it.

I'm really frustrated with my playing because I struggle playing through changes. I've been stuck in the pentatonic box for years... but that's all I ever needed to play rock and pop stuff.
I have an OK knowledge of theory (self taught) but would you recommend private lessons with a jazz guitarist, or do you think I could learn just as much on my own by transcribing solos?

As I said before, nothing like a good private teacher when you need some new info or inspiration.

One more question...
I would like to book Scott for a guitar clinic here in Florida. Who do I contact about that?

Scott Gardener at Fantasma Productions in WPB. He's trying to put together a small tour for us down there.

One last question...
Why do you prefer to use a distortion pedal instead of amp distortion?

I love amp distortion for the treble pickup but if you want to roll the volume on the guitar down and use the neck pickup for chords, amp distortion is pretty muddy sounding. Using pedals makes the guitar more versatile, and with the right pedal you can make the tone just as fat as amp distortion.

The reason I ask is I tried an OD-100 once and the gain channel sounded really good. It had plenty of gain on tap and didn't need a distortion pedal if you cranked the gain and punched the extra gain button.
Thanks, Scott for years of great music and inspiration.
P.S. I took some lessons from Richy Stanojev in Gainesvile, FL who was at GIT while you were there. He said it was inspiring to be able to be around you, enjoy your sense of humor and always be inspired by your playing.

Hey Scott, a friend and I flew down from Canada to see your show at the baked potato a couple of weeks ago-and man we weren't disapointed! Just want to say thanks for a great show, you all rocked and thanks for taking some time to chat a bit-that was cool. Got some questions if you have the time to get to them:

1) Is there one (or more) good books/courses that you can recommend for an intermediate level guitar player looking to improve his/her jazz skills (i.e theory/improv.) but within a practical application? There is so much out there it gets really frustrating and confusing.

Honestly I can't think of one. You're better off with a teacher, or by using your ear to transcribe from your favorite jazz records.

2) When you talk about transcribing as a great learning tool, do you mean doing so via writing out the notation or picking up the music by ear and memorizing. Reason I ask is because for someone like me whose music reading/writing skills has deteriorated over the years to sub values, I would be making my way to my gig in a walker before I'm up to speed!

Me too - my reading sucks. Transcription is just a polite way of saying "stealing licks". You don't have to write them down if you can remember them. Or just put them on tape so you don't forget them. I have lines that I've memorized which I name, like "coltrane dim up", which is a John Coltrane diminished line I learned. When I see "coltane dim up" on a list, it just reminds me that I know it. Licks are like words, you learn millions of them and then cut and paste them into sentences. It takes a lot of time and practice to be able to flow in and out of those small ideas without having to stop and think about it, but it's exactly like learning any language - the more you speak it the better you get at it. Don't ever listen to those jazz snobs that say they have "integrity" and never learn anybody else's lines. They're bullshitters. Learning lines is how we all start. As you get more experienced, you'll find that you can make up your own lines that sound as good as the ones you've learned from other people, and by then you've changed the rhythms of their lines to your own rhythms, so in a sense they becomes your own too. Very important - learn stuff from everyone, sax players, piano players, etc, not just from your one favorite guitarist, resulting in attack of the clones.

3) Last but not least is there any way at all to generate more females at your shows (hot ones of course-maybe ladies night or something?)?I felt like I was at a strip joint!(but seriously I would still show up anytime I'd get a chance to see you guys-even with a room consisting of 98% male guitarists-we had a great evening!)

Yeah, sorry about that. I guess girls like vocal music played by handsome young musicians more than instrumental music played by ugly old musicians. Go figure. I don't think even free drinks for ladies would help our sorry ass situation. Sometimes I look out at all those male faces and think - it could be worse... this could be a prison band.

I had dropped out of music for approx. 10 years to pursue another career and your music has inspired me to pick up my axe again-now I can't put it down-thanks.

Hey Scott.

Just a few tech questions:
1. How do you setup springs in your bridge? How many and which way?
(I think in one of the rounds I saw you saying that they are set up "van halen" way... does that mean two springs? if yes - do you still have it that way?)

No, three springs going from the middle three of the claw, two of them spreading out to the edges of the block and one in the middle.

2. You use your wah in the end of an effects chain? If yes - does that help to get that huge "wahing" sound like on "lola fay"? (compared to having it before od's etc.)

I like it better after the distortion pedal - makes it fatter and more rock & roll sounding.

3. Why do you bypass tone in 2/4 switch position in your guitar?

Because I roll the tone knob for my treble pickup down to about 3. With a regular wiring, if I wanted a bright funky position 4 sound, I'd have to roll that tone pot up to 10 and then down to 3 again when I want to solo on the treble pickup alone. With the tones disconnected in 2 and 4, the tone for the treble pickup can stay on 3. Most guys like the tones all the way up for 2 and 4 anyway, because those positions are usually used for bright funky tones.

Wow, that answer is just as geeky as last rounds distortion pedal answer.... so, what about the play where Eli evades the sack (how the hell did he do that?) and throws that perfect pass? Fucking amazing. I don't hate the Patriots like most people out here do, but I'm happy my '72 Dolphins still have the record. By the way, check this out. if it's not there search for Hitler Superbowl.

4. Do you still use your "volume knob" live? How is it wired - it's just an input/50k pot/output thing?

That's it.

And one more private. How did you feel about playing without your gear in Szczecin (Poland)? Was it hard to enjoy playing while having in mind that your gear may be heading to Africa? :] Was it fun to work out a 'tone' with what you got there?

Luckily there was a decent Marshall there, not as fat sounding as my Suhr, but it did the job well. I had a spare distortion pedal in my clothes suitcase that didn't get lost, and our gear came in on the next flight, just not in time for the gig. All things considered I thought it was a good show.

Thanks in advance.
Btw. Was nice talking to you there. After I took your autograph on the back of my ID card I have to use my driver license instead in many places :] and congratulations on "Lady P" - hell of a tune!

hey scott, a few questions:
1. hall leonard still havent published your book yet , can you chase them up? i'll write them email after this, and every week in february, if it still havent come in march i'll write to them every day!!!

I just talked to them and it's almost done.

2. is it possible for you to tell us the chord progression for "Who Knew?" in your VTT 2 album? at least just the solo? it sounds like a one chord vamp and then change direction later on as you built up your i correct?

Sorry, but I'm not in the mood to listen to it - I might never be. I'm listening a lot to Weather Report's "Talespinnin" and that's what you should be listening to too.

3. who set up your guitar? in another Q&A you said you set up your guitar so that you can pull the G string up a major third, is it still like this?? doesnt your guitar go out of tune after that? or the schaller keeps it in tune?
thanks scott

I use Sperzel locking tuners and that helps. Kenny Gin at Suhr guitars showed me how to deal with Fender bridges. First, bore the 6 holes in the plate slightly larger, by one or two drill bits. The main reason the bridge doesn't stay in tune is that the plate fits on the screws too tightly. You'd think Fender would have figured that out by now... The top of the plate should be about even with the top of the pickguard and the end screws should be in just enough for you to get your fingernail under the head of the screw. The other four inside screws are just there for support - the heads don't need to touch the plate, so raise them about 1/8" higher than the end screws. It'll stay in tune better if it's floating - I can pull up on the bar so that the G string goes up a major 3rd to B. If you get a new Fender bridge, unfortunately the block has been powder coated (even the part that touches the plate), and it totally ruins the tone of the bridge. I wonder what genius at Fender was responsible for that idea. So, you'll have to take the block off, get a drill and a nylon paint remover disk, and sand the coating off the block until it's just bare shiny steel like it's supposed to be, god dammit. Put plenty of graphite in the nut, and a drop of oil on each of the six screws and it should work well and stay in tune.

Scott, I am very interested in your use of double stops (in particular I'm thinking of tunes such as Fee Fi Fo Fum on the Live album, or Giant Steps with VTT). I think it's a great sound for implying harmony in melodies and solos, especially in trio settings. I'm wondering how you came across that technique because I don't know any other guitar players who use to the same extent as you.
Also, what would it take to sit down with you for a lesson or two? Do you even teach privately anymore?

That comes from Hendrix, ala Little Wing. I don't teach privately but anyone is welcome to come to GIT on Monday or Tuesday as a guest and sit in on my open counseling.

Whats up man. Do you ever watch Arrested Development? Its fucking hilarious. If so, who's your favorite character?

I've only seen it a couple times but I really liked it. Of course having Jeffrey Tambor in the cast doesn't hurt. I'm a big fan of his from the Larry Sanders show.

Scott, Would you ever consider playing gigs in other parts of Southern California besides the Baked Potato and La Ve Lee?

Sure, but I want to be the only band, play two sets, play as loud as I want, play whatever music I want, and get 100% of the door. If it's further than 50 miles from LA, I'd need three paid rooms in a nice hotel. If you know some places like that besides La Ve Lee and Baked Potato, please let me know.

Scott, have you ever had some kind of physical injury because playing guitar (a lot of time)? I ask you this because lately I have been feeling a pain in my forearms...

I had tennis elbow for about six months, caused by scraping paint for a week when I bought and renovated my house. Luckily it didn't affect my guitar playing but it hurt like hell when I raised a fork up to my mouth, so I ate left handed for a month. It's hard! But seriously, I have a friend who's going through that and she's seen a doctor who told her she's overdoing it with the hours and hours of practicing and bending strings. Now she has to cool out for awhile and let her hand heal (which can take a little time). Be careful - see a doctor about it and don't practice so much that it hurts.

scott hows the relationship between you and suhr starts? did he approach you, or is it the other way round, worth of mouth etc?

I met John when he was working at Bob Bradshaw's place - he moved to LA from NY because he designed the 3+ preamp and he and Bob were building them. After that he was hired as a master builder at the Fender Custom Shop. I asked him to build me a purple Fender strat, and that was the Tribal Tech guitar for our last three records. When John started his own company, I tagged along and I think I was his first endorsee. I could be wrong about that, I'll have to ask him. Anyway, the first Suhr he made for me sounded even better than the one he made at Fender (he gave me many reasons for that but I've forgotten them). That was over ten years ago and now Suhr has earned the reputation as one of the best guitar companies around. I've never met anyone who knows more about guitars, pickups, AND amps. I guess he's a genius but he acts like a regular guy.

Hi Scott, can you share your settings on your maxon VOP-9?
Also, your wah sounds great- is it a recent model vox 847, and has it been modded or is it stock? If it's modded what was done to it?
Thanks again.

I have the volume up all the way, the gain at about 1 o'clock, and the tone way down, to the second black square. The wah is just a regular Vox, but modded by Martin Golub, who works at LA Sound Design. It was changed to be true bypass, the frequency of the wah when it's open was raised higher to get it out of that nasal frequency most wahs have, and he stopped it from losing volume when turned on which I've noticed the stock ones do.

Would you share your thoughts on why Suhr guitars stay in tune better than Fender? I overheard you talking about it at NAMM.

I wasn't talking about the guitar, but about the Fender bridge. Problematic, but in my opinion still the best sounding bridge. (see above). But as long as we're comparing, I will say that Suhr guitars sound better and are made better than the guitars Fender makes now. Some of the old Fenders sound great but it's not because they're old, it's because some of them were made extremely well. Also most of them are much lighter in weight than the guitars being made by Fender now. Jimi Hendrix was playing brand new Fender guitars right off the shelf, so I don't buy into the aged wood theory too much. If some of Jimi's guitars are better now than they were when he was playing them, I'm pretty sure the guys that own them now can't make them sound as good as Jimi did then. My friend Adam Stark has a beautiful sounding '68 strat - we've compared guitars many times and my brand new Suhrs sound just as good.

The thing about Suhr guitars is that they're ALL made extremely well, they're easier to play, the pickups are the best I've ever heard, and unlike Fender, Suhr won't sell a guitar that's too heavy. The old Fenders have a rounder neck radius which makes bent strings fret out so the action has to be higher to correct that problem, and the frets are so small that it's harder to bend strings. Also the old strats are wildly inconsistent. I've often heard guys say "this is a really good one and they're not easy to find". That's true because a lot of them flat out suck. The pickups aren't even close to each other in measurement - on some of them the neck pickup is way hotter than the bridge pickup, which isn't good, especially since back then there was no tone control for the bridge pickup. I've also seen old strats with a gap between the sides of the neck and the body. You'll never see a Suhr with that kind of obvious defect. So if you can find a good old Fender and don't mind spending 25 to 50 grand for it you'll have a great guitar, but I think for around 4 you're better off with a Suhr. And they don't hum.

Dear Scott,

Hi Scott, strictly on a tone basis -if you had to pick between the OD-100 classic or the new 1 channel suhr amp you demoed at NAMM which would you pick? I know it's subjective and they're both great amps but ...curious.

Strictly on a tone basis I like the Suhr more, but the difference is so subtile you'd never hear it in a mix. There are five differences between channel 2 of the OD-100 Classic and my Suhr amp. 1. The OD-100 has a circuit board and the Suhr amp is hand wired. The reason people believe that hand wired is better is because in the days when circuit boards were first being made, they sucked. The traces were thin, and only on one side of the board, plus the boards themselves were cheap and flimsy. Circuit board amps quickly got a bad reputation and it was well deserved, but things have changed. Now good amp makers including Suhr use military spec boards with thick traces on both sides of the board and according to John, they conduct as good or better than wire. 2. The layout of the parts on the Suhr amp is exactly like an old Plexi. Does the actual geography of the parts make a difference in the tone? I have no idea. 3. The Suhr amp has an aluminum frame to make it lighter, which is why I asked John to build me the amp in the first place, because of airport problems. Does the fact that aluminum doesn't react to magnetism from the transformer like steel does change the tone? Again I have no idea. 4. There are no extra switches in the Suhr amp, like bright or boost. My opinion has always been that the simpler the circuit, the better the sound, but the switches in John's amps are so high quality that I doubt if it makes a difference. 5. When an amp has two channels, each channel isn't 100% isolated from the other channel. Of the five possible reasons I like the tone of the Suhr amp more, that's the one I'd bet on.

So the bottom line is, if you're like me and don't need a clean channel and want a lighter amp because you're flying with it, get a Suhr. And even though the fact that it's hand wired probably has nothing to do with it's tone, you can still believe the voodoo, pay more for it and brag about it to your friends. If you absolutely need a clean channel because you need to play clean chords at loud volumes, get the OD-100. But beware if you're a musician who isn't in a famous rock band where all the gear is shipped by cargo. New FAA regulations state that on ALL airlines, nothing over 70 pounds is accepted as luggage - period. I almost had to leave my OD-100 in Puerto Rico, or separate it from it's road case. Luckily the pilot came out and gave me a break because he was a music fan. He said, and I quote, "don't bring that amp on the road again."

How does one practise scales and arpeggios in all the keys, like say when someone says play Ab mel minor,
how can u play a line straight out which doesnt even start on the root.
Is it visual memory that u have?which lets u relate the scale to that lick?
(obviously u r beyond that and can play anything , and it just sounds
phenomenal, but you are GOD!!
but in your earlier days...
how did u practise in all the keys?
i am able to connect the scale and even come out with licks as i know the sound, but if u ask me to play a lick in a particular
key i wont be even though i can play the lick by finger memory and ear.
Does one need to memorise all keys visually??
and knowing note spellings of that scale.
a is position playing the key for being able to play in diff keys or changes
and jazz improvisation(eg playing through random changes off a realbook)
but then the real "Hip" stuff (like yours) rarely sound like position playing
In extention to this question, how different is approaching the instrument tuned down to Eb, for a jazz player who has studied a lot of theory!
Sorry for such a long question, but itll be great to hear what u have to say, since you are my idol!
raghav (india)

Dear Raghay,
I'm not really an Internet teacher. The questions you're asking should be answered in person by a good private instructor, because the answers that I would write here would be too long to type. Any good jazz guitarist can answer these questions for you in a private lesson.

To answer your last question, tuning down to Eb is no different than playing in E because my bass player tunes down to Eb too. So if I say to him, play a low A while I play an A chord, we're really playing in Ab but we're thinking of it as A. The only reason for tuning town is so I can use bigger strings and be able to bend them easily. Playing .011's in Eb feels about the same as playing .010's in E.

Any chance updates more often on your site?

I don't know how to answer that one... I think we keep it updated pretty well with new tour info. If I was changing up my gear more often we'd post it, but I've been happy with what I've been using. I'll check out the gear section and see if I've changed anything that's not on there.

Hi Scott,
I'd like to know something about your gear:
1. You use your Suhr amp as a crunch sound, the dirty came only from the preamp tubes or is a mix of pre and power tubes?

Answered at

2. You use the RC Booster as a booster for crunch sound, when you need more gain you add the Maxon VOP-9 or you switch between the RC and VOP-9?

I switch between them.

3. How do you pump up your volume for solos?Do you only turn your small purple volume box up?


Why don't you use a clean boost, such as the RC?

I do use an RC, and turn my guitar down to about 5 to play clean chords.

4. Have you ever used in your album only the distortion from a pedal?

No. That would sound like poop.

Or you ever use a combination of amp and pedals distortion?


Talkin' about your playing, now that you primarly play "blues" music, based on classic 12 bar blues, especially in the solos, I've noticed that you go outside basicly on the 5th degree of the progression, what are your favourite subsitution?I've heard a lot of diminisced scales, what else?

That's a teaching question which requires money for an answer. Send 20 dollars for each note in the diminished scale.

Hey Scott, What do you think of Steve Freeman playing? check out his bands Myspace. - mister pilsner - atlanta, Georgia - Jazz / Funk / Blues -

Steve was one of my teachers when I was at GIT in 1980. He's always played great and has a huge vocabulary playing over standards. He didn't play around town that much when he was in LA so it's good to hear he's got a cool band going in Atlanta. Steve's also the guy who gave me the hilarious crank phone calls tape of some hillbilly calling up people asking them if they like to eat roots. That's where the song title Root Food came from.


Last edited by kirk95 on Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks scott,

sorry for such a long q previously.

but just want to tell you ,that you rock!!
(your cds are the best private teacher anyone could ever get!)
thank you Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi scott
do you use any dom.diminished pattern in first 4 strings besides the classic symmetrical one ?
I am looking for a passage between minor 3rds
you are a master using this scale (and not only this ..)
I really wish you had a book with dom.dim lines ..
(I have to admitt I am lazy transcribing)
Also can i send you my cd ?
as an old student I d like your opinion.
life after first 100 years gets easier..
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