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FRANK ZAPPA! The guitar stories behind his 1969 classic Hot Rats

ROYAL RUMBLE

The legendary basses born of Gibson & Fender’s rivalry

GET GILMOUR Master the Pink Floyd hero’s hallmark licks

Issue 453

UR O Y OWN one , y R ig T t c fe An r e h P t i t o Ge y t i m e , W T w o H E v er

DECEMBER 2019

AMERICAN ULTRA EXCLUSIVE REVIEW FENDER’S NEW FLAGSHIP ELECTRIC RANGE

REVIEWS

OWN IT! GARY MOORE GEAR SALE

HISTORIC GUITARS, AMPS & EFFECTS THAT YOU CAN AFFORD

GIBSON G-45 STUDIO & STANDARD ALVAREZ ARTIST ELITE & MASTERWORKS HUDSON BROADCAST-AP MUSIC MAN MARIPOSA YAMAHA THR-II AMP & MORE

INTERVIEWS

J. MASCIS STEVE MORSE DWEEZIL ZAPPA


interview

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J Mascis

GUITARIST  DECEMBER 2019


Own Your Tone

feature

Gary Moore’s famous Fiesta Red Strat had pickups that gave readings in the 5k range when we tested them at Guitarist. They were, in fact, less hot than those fitted on a Custom Shop replica of that celebrated guitar

“I would definitely use a drive pedal and probably a vintage or at most a vintage-hot pickup. That will give the biggest tone, because the pickup will be translating the dynamics of my playing, assuming I’m playing with a nice light touch. We’ve not used up any of the headroom there; there’s plenty of response to pick attack, to volume control. The boost pedal, the drive pedal, is then juicing that signal up. The amp has got masses of headroom, so it’s not going to choke up at all. “We can hit that amp quite hard with our drive pedal, so we’ve got a nice clean, pure tone coming off the guitar, gritting it up with the pedal. And then we’re going into this massive amount of headroom in the amp, which will just make it sound louder and really punchy. Conversely, if you were to try doing the same thing with, say, a highoutput pickup in the guitar but with the same rig, you’d find because the signal coming out of the guitar was really hot, and it’s hitting the drive pedal, which is then trying to juice that up… we’re going to get a really compressed sound and it won’t be anywhere near as responsive. It’ll sound very saturated, but you’ll lose that pick dynamic completely; you know, it’ll flatten it out. Which is fine if you’re just, say, shredding away at a million miles an hour; it’ll just even out all your pick dynamics. But if you’re playing delicately and with some feel, and there’s plenty of space in the phrasing, it won’t suit that at all.” When are hot pickups the ones to go for, then? “For harder rock styles through to metal styles: anything where compression can be your friend, where the note density, let’s say, is much more intense. If you’re playing faster, very intricate technical passages with a lot of drive, having some nice compression in there just

DECEMBER 2019  GUITARIST

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Own Your Tone

feature

RIG #2

MONSTER CLEANS SRV-style crunchy cleans big enough to break doors down

“T

he SRV thing is really interesting,” Daniel Steinhardt reflects. “Stevie Ray used so many different rigs throughout his career, but he had a way of setting up his amplifier so it always just sounded like him. He was 100 per cent sure about what he wanted to present sonically, so he wasn’t going to an amp and experimenting. And that sound moved you. You could feel each chord and almost lean into it, it was that loud. He could do that on a Dumble Steel String Singer, but he could do the same thing with Marshall Majors and

all the Fender amps that he used – because he knew that sound he was going for. “Now, it’s not as if that sound was completely clean, because he’s got some compression there, too. So Stevie’s right hand is a jackhammer, and his timing’s so consistent and it’s great. But then, when he just backs off a little bit, the whole thing cleans up and opens up. That’s a really great example about playing the amplifier. The crucial thing is he knew exactly how to play the amplifier loud. When you hear SRVstyle blues played at sound-pressure levels that make the guitar work with the amplifier, then suddenly

it’s like there’s just a different dynamic element. “You’ve also got the way the speakers are working, you’ve got the way the transformers are working at high volume. Funnily enough, Stevie didn’t like the compression of a valve rectifier [the component that converts household AC power into direct current inside the amp]. He preferred amps with solid-state rectifiers, because at the volume he played at they offered a quicker, crisper response and a little bit less sag. And then he would shape that clear, responsive tone WHY with a Tube Screamer IT WORKS [to focus the mids].” It’s All On The Edge This rig is all about running a punchy amp loud, so it’s on the edge of natural overdrive. Being set up to be right ‘on the cusp’ means it’s possible to go from glassy cleans into singing leads and back again using picking dynamics alone. It’s a taut sound that’s unforgiving of mistakes – but rewards the skilled player with unmatched touch-sensitivity and enough clarity to cut through any mix

THE GUITAR

THE PEDAL

THE AMP

Fender Stratocaster

Ibanez Tube Screamer

Fender Hot Rod DeVille

For these giant clean tones, we’re still going to want single coils for their extra dynamic range over ’buckers. We can, however, afford to go a little hotter with our pickup choice and heavier with our string gauge – because we want to chuck a decent amount of signal at the amp in order to push it right to the edge of natural overdrive.

“Stevie Ray was already slamming the front of the amplifier with his playing, so he likely wouldn’t want to hit the front-end of the amp with too much extra gain from a pedal,” says Dan. “So it would have been more about using an overdrive to shape the mids and add a little bit more compression.” Solution: use a Tube Screamer with the gain set relatively low.

In the absence of a rare-as-hen’s teeth Dumble, Fender’s excellent-sounding Hot Rod DeVille offers the right ingredients. It has plenty of clarity and volume and enough backbone to stand up to being hit hard with incoming signal from forceful playing, heavy strings and hottish single coils without collapsing into blurts of clipping.

TONE TAILORING CUTTING THROUGH Instead of using a conventional overdrive to push things even harder when you want to take a solo, you could consider using a treble booster, which achieves cut-through by driving a specific range of upper-mids without compressing the whole sound. “A treble booster shelves a whole bunch of bottom-end, but it’s very clean,” Daniel Steinhardt says. “What it’s doing is it’s taking that clean signal and slamming into the front of an amplifier that’s already overdriving. So you get this articulation and this beautiful attack, but it works with the amplifier.”

DECEMBER 2019  GUITARIST

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PHOTO BY DAVID REDFERN/REDFERNS/GETTY IMAGES


9000

2001 GIBSON ES-335 DOT “Gary got this from Gibson directly out of their London showroom. He said, ‘Oh, that’s a bit different. Can I borrow that for something?’ It ended up being used on a bunch of photographs that were used for tour promo, so we said, ‘We’d better give you some money for it then!’ It was all over the promo posters across Europe and Russia and Ireland. It’s quite a striking photo of Gary with the guitar. We hung on to it because we thought it might be useful for something. It’s ‘all gold’ finish is interesting. ‘All gold’ is very different. You normally see that on ES-295s, the Scotty Moore guitar, as well as the odd Les Paul Model.”

ESTIMATE £1,500-£3,000

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Guitarist 453 (Sampler)  

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Guitarist 453 (Sampler)  

You can subscribe to this magazine @ www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk