FAQ's

What's your favourite Marshall Amp?

So hard to choose! Off the top of my head I'd have to say the JCM800 2203, JTM45, YJM100, JVMJS and the Astoria Custom. But check again with me in a few months as it changes regularly.

What's the key to getting a good tone from a valve amp?

Turn it up! However cliched it may sound, any valve amp sounds best when its running hot. If it has a master volume, turn that up to about 3/4, stand well back, and take a deep breath.

Favourite guitar?

Again, tough one. Love my Sunburst Les Paul, also my Tele. The LAG Imperator's I have with the spalted maple tops are great too. And the guitars I've had since I was young are the ones I'll never get rid of.

Which pedals do you use?

Not many unless I need to for something specific. I love wah pedals, and have quite a few; the Joe Bonamassa Crybaby is my favourite because of its voicing. Standard Crybaby or Vox ones are great too! I have a few drive pedals, some custom made ones, some standard, but mainly use amp overdrive and sometimes use them as a boost, particularly with more vintage style amps. I have an old Boss CE-2 Chorus that I always tend to go back to though I have others along with various other pedals I've picked up along the way.

Which Bare Knuckle Pickups?

Lots! Never underestimate how much you can improve your sound by changing pickups. It started with me when I was young and put a Seymour Duncan Distortion in the bridge of my Epiphone Les Paul. It immediately made the sound 10 times better. So I used a few Seymour Duncan's on some guitars, then switched to Bare Knuckle about 10 years ago. I use the following and highly recommend them:

Sunburst Les Paul - Abraxis

Tobacco Burst Les Paul - Nailbombs

Vanquish Mystique - Mules

Blue Telecaster - Brown Sugars 

Tobacco Burst Strat - Irish Tours

Which strings?

Usually Ernie Balls, but recently Elixir so I don't have to change them as much. Gauge 10-46.

Which Picks?

Dunlop Tortex yellow .73mm or Clayton Custom, same size.

What advice can you give to help me get on?

Practise!! It's not going to learn itself, the more you put in, the more you'll get out, you'll see and hear yourself getting better, and the best thing is, you never stop learning! Be yourself, don't try and play a million notes a minute, it's flash but has no soul; play with feel and melody.

 

NEVER underestimate rhythm playing and how important it is, listen to Nile Rodgers and Pete Townshend, jam along to songs, get you're timing square, then find as many like minded people as you can to play with, and just get yourself out there - make no money, maybe make some money too. 

 

Play to 2 people, 200 or 2000 people; it's all experience.

Never, ever, ever have an ego where you take yourself seriously or think you're too big for any gig. Be happy in yourself knowing you can go from playing to huge festival crowds one day and a local pub gig or school concert the next.

 

If you're going to go the Youtube route, then I guess it's great for exposure, but you need to do gigs in the real world. Your reputation in the real world is the bit that will get you work.

Be nice - learn everyone's name, especially tech and crew guys. They're the ones that, let's face it, work harder than you at any gig, you're just playing guitar...