When: Early 1978
Where: Another sketchy one. A hotel somewhere in Los Angeles.
What: David was the epitome of Englishness - quiet, reserved, polite. Very sweet guy. We had a terrific chat. His eponymous solo album had been released and there was reason to talk.
David Gilmour has been playing guitar with Pink Floyd for 11 years now-about one-third of his life. And for more than a decade, his style has been undergoing a constant refining process that parallels the bandís evolution from a spearhead of the psychedelic movement of the 1960s to a mainstay of the outer-space rock of the 1970s.
Joining Pink Floyd in February 1968 (after the bandís original guitarist and founder, Syd Barrett
, began to show wear and tear from drugs and the bandís almost constant touring), Gilmour
was relegated to rhythm guitar. In early April of the same year Barrett left, and Gilmour, then 21 years old, became the groupís only guitar≠ist. He proceeded to carry on with the chores of upholding the bandís tradition of psychedelia that had made them standouts on the British music scene-along with groups like The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Soft Machine, and Tomorrow.
With Barrett at the helm, Pink Floyd had released one album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, and had achieved fame in England for their innovative use of light shows. They had also released two, singles in 1967: ďArnold LayneĒ and ďSee Emily PlayĒ (the latter reached the #6 position on the British charts). The band had already established momentum when Gilmour joined, and in only a few months they were again performing concerts. At the end of June 1968, their second album, A Saucerful Of Secrets, was released. Since that album, the personnel of Pink Floyd has remained static, with Gilmour, keyboardist Rick Wright, bassist Roger Waters, and drummer Nick Mason. As a unit they expanded their musical abilities and consistently drew critical praise for their use of quadra≠phonic sound and visual special effects.
Pink Floyd also composed and performed the soundtracks of several movies, including More; Tonight Letís All Make Love In London; The Committee, and in 1969 Michaelangelo Antonioniís Zabriskie Point. Also released in 1969 was the bandís third album, Ummagumma. This was a double-record with two sides devoted to live performances of earlier works, and the remaining two sides divided in half, giving each member of the group space to experiment.
In October 1970 Pink Floydís next album, Atom Heart Mother, was released. Propelling the LP was the addition of a horn section and male and female choruses. This fourth album reached #1 on the British charts; it was followed in 1971 by the less well-received Meddle. In 1972 the band was featured on yet another soundtrack, Obscured By Clouds. It was their only offering that year, but they werenít just sitting around-they spent the majority of 1972 record≠ing what was to be their mammoth tour de force-Dark Side Of The Moon.
This 1973 release became Pink Floydís first #1 album in the United States and was a mainstay on the British charts for two years. The band toured throughout 1973 and then went into a period of semi-retirement that lasted until the release of the next album, Wish You Were Here, in 1975. Its popularity hardly measured up to that of Dark Side Of The Moon, but in 1977 the Animals LP reached the Top 5 on both the U.S. and British charts.
In 1978 David Gilmour was the first member of Pink Floyd to release a solo album, simply entitled David Gilmour. (Syd Barrett had released two solo albums Barrett and The Madcap Laughs) although he did so after permanently leaving the band. While there are obvious parallels between Gilmourís solo work and his efforts with Pink Floyd, the album stands on its own and shows that David has long passed the stage of being a replacement for another musician- he is an identifiable guitarist with his own distinct style that lends instant recognition to anything he does.
Letís start with your background. How and when did you get into playing guitar?
David Gilmour: Letís see. Well, I first started playing about 14. So 18 years ago, I suppose. I started playing on a guitar leant to me by my next door neighbor, whose mother had given him one - and I never gave it back to him.
What kind of guitar was it?
It was a Spanish, nylon-string guitar that I still have around somewhere. Itís a very cheap one, a $20 guitar.
Did you get books or records to learn how to play?
I just started trying to learn to play along with records originally. My parents got me the Pete Seeger guitar tutor record, which was a great help. At least it had all the tuning things on the first part of the record, all the notes to tune to, which was very useful.
What kind of records were you listening to?
Absolutely everything. It was a very wide field of stuff from Bill Hailey to Pete Seegerrecords, and all the regular rock and roll. I had a wide range of tastes.
Did you get involved with bands or just play on your own for a while?
I played on my own for a couple of years. I first started getting into bands when I was about 16, 17. I changed to a couple of guitars. I got some terrible acoustic guitar with f-shaped holes on it and an electric pickup on it. It was the first electric I had. I changed onto a Burns Sonic. Iím guessing you didnít have too many of those. Theyíre pretty dreadful. Then I had a Hofner Club 60, which is quite a nice guitar really. Well, it was in those days and I liked it a lot. That was the one I stuck with for quite a long time till I got my first Telecaster, which was my parentís 21st birthday present.
Were you playing rhythm primarily?
No, I was a lead guitarist in the bands that I was in. The first band that I belonged in was a local band called Jokerís Wild. I was the lead guitar player.
What kind of stuff were you playing?
Well, you know what itís like with bands in local towns. You know, youíve got to please the people at dances, everything.
So there was no original stuff yet?
No, no original stuff at all. We did everything that everyone did: The Four Seasons. We were quite into free harmony like the ones in Four Seasons things. That was a very big trend, I think.
So you were singing already?
Yeah. Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, an extraordinary mixture you wouldnít really find these days. But lots of bands did that in those days.
Do you find any difficulty in coordinating your singing and your playing?
Not too much, no. I mean, one doesnít really play lead at the same time as singing too much. It would just be a kind of rhythm thing when youíre singing, and lead in the gaps.
So at 21 you got a Telecaster?
Was that something you specifically wanted?
Yes. I had asked for it. Iíd said that was what I wanted most of all. Well, I was into Fender guitars and I knew a Stratocaster was too expensive for my parents. So I thought Iíd start off with it. I mean, I didnít expect to get it anyway, but they were living in America at the time and those things were a lot cheaper than they were in Europe.
So they bought it and sent it back to you?
Yeah, which I had for about a year or so until I took my first flight to America and TWA lost it. It never came up on the plane at the other end. I think they gave me $150.
Do you think your playing really started to grow at that point?
I donít know. The guitar I had before was quite nice in its way. It had a much better sound to it.
What were you doing immediately prior to Pink Floyd playing-wise?
Well, the first band that I was in, I had an offer to go to Spain to do a club, to be a resident there in the club there for the summer. And they said it was for me, to me personally, that offer, as opposed to the band that I was in. So I had enough of the band anyway. I took Willy and Ricky and then the keyboard player with me and we rushed off down there. We stayed there for a couple months, and the keyboard player didnít work out. The he split and we became a threesome. We moved to France and stayed there for about a year doing that. And then that got out of hand. We decided to go back to England. Ricky really wanted to go to Cambridge. I thought that if I went back to Cambridge Iíd just fall back into the old trap and I wanted to get somewhere different from there. So we parted company and I stayed in London, got a temping job. A couple months later, I got this job.
There was a point where you and Syd were both playing guitars?
Yeah. It was about a couple months, about two months, I donít know. I was playing rhythm guitar and Syd wasnít really playing anything.
Had you listened to Sydís records before you joined?
Yes, I did listen to them.
Do you think he influenced or shaped your playing in any way?
No, I donít really think so. I wouldnít say so. I mean, I didnít really start playing lead guitar for a long time. I didnít know what to do. I was a little lost for quite awhile. So I just started playing the chords on the records and singing the words on the records, which is what they wanted at the time to fulfill their contractual obligations with the gigs that we had to do. And it took me quite a while to start feeling my way around becoming a part of it.
What records are you talking about specifically?
I was talking really more about gigs. The records that were at that time was A Saucerful of Secrets.
Was that the first record that you were on?
Yes. I didnít know what to do. I was really feeling around in the dark.
Was their music somewhat different than what you had been used to?
|"The first band that I belonged in was a local band called Joker's Wild."|
Yeah, itís very, very different.
What kind of equipment were you using on those first records?
I was using a Selmer 50-watt head with a 4 x 12 cabinet of some sort. And then a small Binson echo unit.
What kind of guitar?
How many albums did you use the Telecaster on?
Well, that Telecaster got stolen shortly after that. So I got a Stratocaster, I think, next - and another Telecaster. I canít really remember if I had the Strat or a Tele, which really stuck with, one or the other. I changed in between them through the years. The equipment changed through the years, too. We got rid of the Selmas and we changed to Hi-Watt Amplifiers around that same time. Gradually the effects pedals, things started creeping in. At that time, I didnít really have any. All I had was the Binson echo. And then I got a fuzz box at some point. I canít remember exactly when. I mean, I had a fuzz box before, but they were Sydís. But I couldnít really get on with it. I changed that and I gradually added a volume pedal as well. Fuzz boxes are terribly hard to control without a volume pedal. And wah-wah. I worked up to where I had a huge line of them all sitting onstage with wires everywhere; batteries kept running out and every≠thing kept breaking. Eventually I just had to consolidate them.Ē
Can you talk about the specific types of pedals that you use?
In 1972, all the pedals were built into a special cabinet, although since then Iíve gone through several different setups. My current stage board consists of an MXR Phase-90; an Electro≠Harmonix Electric Mistress flanger; an Orange treble and bass booster, a Big Muff fuzz, an Arbiter Fuzz Face, and a custom-built tone pedal. Iíve gone through a couple of completely different pedal boards since then. I had a Univox for a while, but that went out to make room for something else rather recently. Thereís a Unitone pedal. Everything is on switches that bypass it completely, including the volume and tone pedals.
This is all built into a pedal board for you?
Yeah. At various points in the circuitry I have outlets going external to the pedal board, with two sockets with short circuit connections on. So that you can plug in two short wires on the head, an external thing into the circuitry at the point you want to put it into the circuitry. If you pull the plugs out, the circuitry still works because youíve got it on those short circuits.
So thatís the board that you use now onstage?
Is that the same board that you used for your album?
Yes. Itís got three switched outputs to route to different amps.
What guitar are you using now?
Iím using several. On the record, Iím using loads of them. Iím using about two or three Stratocasters, a couple of Telecasters, an Ovation acoustic, and a black Les Paul. Thereís not much acoustic on there actually (solo album).
What do you feel is your main guitar?
Well, I guess the one Iím most comfortable with is the 1979 black Strat. It has a DiMarzio replacement pickup and a 1962 Strat neck. The fingerboard is rosewood, although I generally prefer maple; I like the sound of maple necks better and they feel more comfortable playing on them. The Stratocaster has also been fitted with an extra switch that allows me to add the neck pickup in any combination with the other pickups. This guitar was my main choice on my solo album (David Gilmour).
Have you had any other work done to it?
Iíve put an extra switch in, as I mentioned, so I can get any combination of pickups. And all the switch does is allow me to add the neck pickup so that I can add that into any other combination. It gives it a great combination of everything.
Any other guitars in your arsenal?
I have a 1955 Esquire converted to a Telecaster by the addition of a front pickup. The modifications were performed by Seymour Duncan.When I got it, it had already been changed into a Telecaster by the addition of a bridge pickup, which had looked like it had been on there, perhaps since the guitar was made. í55. It was pretty ancient. I got it off Seymour Duncan.
Wasnít he the one who did work on Jeff Beckís guitars?
I donít know. He used to work for Fender. Basically the neck pickup on it was terrible.
Is there a reason why youíve never played Gibsons?
Iíve never really got on with them. I mean, I think people tend to stick with what they started off with. What I always wanted when I was a lad was a Fender because most of the people I dug who played guitar played Fenders. So I started with that and I stopped with that.
I think Strats and Teles are probably more difficult to play.
I find them easier than Les Pauls. I mean, Iíve lived with them all my life, so.
What kind of amps are you using?
Yeah. Iíve got some Yamaha Leslie amps and Roland speakers.
So you just use those?
On the last tour, I had two of the Yamahas, which are like 200 watts each supposedly. But they donít and you have to keep them down. In the studio I use a Fender Twin and Mesa/Boogie.
Didnít Pink Floyd use WEM amps as well?
The PA was WEM for quite a long while. The cabinets, the 4 x 12ís, which Iím using, are made by WEM, not for any particular reason. They just happen to be.
So itís a Hi-Watt head?
Yes. We did try out some WEM amps at one point for a very short period. But itís always looked like WEM because the 4 x 12ís have always had WEM. But the amps have always been Hi-Watt.
What kind of speakers are in the cabinets?
Iím not too sure actually. Celestions, I think. Iím not too sure.
Do you play much acoustic guitar?
What kinds of acoustic guitars? Are they Ovations?
Thatís what Iíve been using lately. Iíve got Martins as well, an (D)18 and (D)45.
Do you use a pick when you play acoustic?
It depends. I do some fingerpicking, too. I used to do some on some records in the earlier days.
What kind of picks and strings do you use for your electrics?
Years ago I used to use Gibson SonomaticsÖ I tried Ernie Balls for a while. At the moment Iím using the Gibson (Sonomatics): .044; .034; .024; .016; .012; and .010.
Thatís still kind of heavy, isnít it?
Thatís pretty light for me. On stage actually, I use heavier gauges; I still use .010, .012, and .016 on the lighter strings. But then I use like .028, .038, and .050 on the heavy, bottom strings.
What kind of picks do you use?
Mostly Herco heavy gauge.
You like those?
For electrics. I like them for that. I donít like them for acoustic. I donít use them for acoustic guitar. Thatís a bit hard or brittle.
Are you really heavy-handed when you play?
Iíve never managed to become a very light-fingered guitarist. Iím not that sort of player. Thatís just the way I am. I donít really mind that, though. Iíd like to have the technique there, but I think a lot of other people abuse it.
Even your lead stuff is like that.
Yeah. I mean, thatís the way I am. I canít avoid it. Iím not very fast.
So youíve never sat down and tried to concentrate on that?
Iíve practiced scales and things, but my fingers and coordination really arenít in the same league as other people that I can think of. For me, what counts is what comes out in the end.
You seem to be a more economical, melodic type of player in your approach to soloing.
I do like solos that have the melody to it in some form. A lot of the solos I hear that are very fast, I canít understand. Iím not attracted to it, so I wouldnít want to play like that even if I could.
At what point in your work with Pink Floyd do you think your playing really came together?
Well, I mean it was really only the first album I was very uncomfortable with. That was the first one, and after that I started fitting my way in. And they started moving towards a style that I could accommodate more as well. So we moved together and it did become a lot easier from that point. I would like to describe a point where I really felt like I was getting on top of it completely.
Is it something like ďThe Narrow WayĒ(Ummagumma)?
I felt quite uncomfortable on that record. I canít really remember much about doing that actually to tell you the truth.
What about your solos on Dark Side of the Moon?
I think theyíre okay, pretty good.
That album really put Pink Floyd on the map.
I think I did some quite good ones on that. And on the one before that, I think I did quite good there.
Which one was that?
Meddle. And the soundtrack, Obscured By Clouds that we did, I quite like some of the guitar work on there.
Are your solos usually done on the first take in the studio?
I tend to first get out there and just hammer away without thinking about it. I donít look at the frets and I donít think about the key. I just try and feel my away around it completely in the dark so that maybe something slightly unusual crops up. I gradually kind of work that into some sort of shape. Not so Iíve got the whole thing together, but I usually make it into some sort of shape. If I have one or two little bits then I know what Iím gonna do. And then when I think Iím about ready, I try to a take it when Iíve got the shape of it about right.
When youíre soloing, are there certain scales that you usually work from?
Basically, Iím a person whoís stuck within certain limitations, and I have to work within them. Iím sure there are, yes. Thereís all sorts of little tricks that one does use. Itís like little hammering tricks and things like that, which I use at times to try and sound faster than I am. Because for just a few seconds, just a little bit, sheer speed is very effective if itís put into a proper context. And thatís why I miss not having it. Basically, Iím a person whoís stuck within certain limitations, and I have to work within them.
What do you think of people like Jeff Beck?
Oh, I like Jeff Beck.
Do you like his Blow By Blow album?
I love his Blow By Blow album.
Heís a guy whoís faster than a lot of people think.
But he doesnít abuse it like a lot of people. And thatís one of my favorite albums.
He really takes his Strat and makes it not sound like a Strat, which is something you do. You explore the boundaries of not making a guitar sound like a guitar.
|"I do like solos that have the melody to it in some form."|
Thereís a track on here (solo album) called ďItís Deafinitely.Ē Itís influenced by that sort of thing.
Would you like to move more into that area of pure guitar instrumentals?
Yes, I would like to move into that for myself. I donít ever think I could, but I like what heís doing. I canít play like that. And when you try to be a virtuoso guitarist, the type that Jeff Beck is, youíll be a failure. It wouldnít work out right.
Do you think what youíre playing on your album is different than what you played in Pink Floyd?
I wouldnít say itís particularly different. The solos are done faster though. A little fresher at times, more off the cuff. Iím very pleased with some of the guitar work on it.
ďRaise My Rent.Ē
Thatís the instrumental, right?
Yeah. I really like what was there.
Whatís the effect that you use that gives you a real, grating sound? Is that a fuzz?
It probably is. I use a fuzz quite a lot to dirty up a smoother sound on the record. I use very fine adjustments on the fuzz boxes. Thereís things like I pull the volume control up a fraction off of full volume on the guitar and that makes the fuzz box work completely differently. I take the fuzz control a fraction off the top as well and you can hear it click when you take it off, when itís gone from absolute maximum to just less. And I find a lot of things like it.
You phase your guitar a lot, too?
Are there any special miking techniques you use in the studio?
I have a close mic on there. And if I wanted a distant mic, too, Iíd get a bigger sound.
Would you lay down rhythm tracks and then overdub vocals and leads?
Are you doing the harmony parts, too?
Do you sing many songs with Pink Floyd?
Yeah, quite a few. Well, I did less on this last Pink Floyd record than I usually do. But I usually end up doing more than anybody else.
You play keyboards also?
I did on this, yeah. That was a struggle, though. Itís very functional stuff. At times, I couldnít change the chords fast enough. So Iíd play a chord, then Iíd take my hands off and leave it blank for a second. Then Iíd record another track on there and fill in the blanks. There are little tricks like that you can get when you do it on the recording.
Was this just material that Pink Floyd didnít have time to record?
No, this was all written after the end of the last Pink Floyd tour. I started putting down some ideas. Iíve got one of these exactly the same as that, that I carry around with me everywhere. When an idea comes to mind, I stick in on there and I forget about it again. Iíll go back later and listen to it and think of if itís worth it. But all the stuff on there is written after the last Pink Floyd record.
Most of the stuff you do is very melody-oriented.
Yeah. Iím a rock and roll fanatic in a way, but itís always got to have some melody to it. Some of it that I hear these days hasnít got any really. But all the original rock and roll records had melody to them that I know. They all had something going that was melodic to me.
Are there certain settings that you use on the Strat or the Hi-Watt that give you the sound or tone?
That is a permanent struggle trying to get the right sound. I tend to like sound on a guitar when itís all flat-out.
Do you like to use a lot of treble?
Yes. I use quite a bright sound. I like a fairly bright sound. I mean, I like a lot of bottom to it as well, but I do like a bright sound. I like what Iím doing now on guitar solos, where it seems ripping everywhere. I mean, I really want it go right through peopleís heads.
You donít play a lot of acoustic on stage, do you?
Sometimes I do, yes. I used to quite a bit. On this last tour, I would have done it, but we had an extra guy in and he was doing it instead. So I could stay on regular guitar and not go changing it.
Do you practice?
Not what youíd call practicing really. I mean, I play guitar everyday, but thereís no great discipline that Iím aware of. There have been period of my life where I have practiced fairly. Iíve been through periods to try and find out whether my technique were to improve because Iím lazy about practicing. But itís really something that Iím built with. I did do it for a long time, but it still doesnít really make a dramatic effect on what I do.
Do you compose on guitar?
Are there certain keys that you like playing in?
Well, thereís a lot of keys that I donít like playing in. I mean all the easy ones down the bottom of the neck, the E, A, D, G. All those kinds. I donít like much in Bb.
Because of Pink Floydís reputation of being a band that works a lot with sounds, did you consciously think that youíd need to come in and make the guitar sound like that?
I guess I must have done that, yes. I did start working on the guitar and trying to find strange sounds that I could get out of it, which you can find an awful lot of with a Strat in the tremelo unit. Playing the strings at the other end of the head. Plucking the springs in the back.
You did all that?
You still do?
I donít now. I havenít really done much of that lately. But when you get it all done through a heavy delay echo unit and you start plucking the springs inside, you can get an extraordinary sounds come out of it. I used to do this thing where I played a Fender through a wah-wah pedal, a one-way. Youíve got it right down, right open, so it will be like in the off position or the in the base position on the wah-wah. You turn your volume control up, you can get an oscillator sort of tone. You can make all these high, screaming, whispering sounds and change the notes just like playing with your volume control. I discovered it accidentally one day when I was on a stage somewhere doing a gig. I plugged the wah-wah in the wrong way and I was in the middle of something. I thrashed into it, pressed my foot down on the pedal, went to frantically wah-wah away, and all that came out was this fantastic screaming. I later put that through a volume pedal, through the echo unit, and played it and actually used to use it on stage. In fact, my foot pedal has got a reverse switch on it, so I can reverse to it. Thatís used in the middle of ďEchoes,Ē all the way through that middle bit. Itís that sort of screaming, bird-like noise.
Do you find other pedals give you buzzes and screeches?
Yes. Lots of the pedals have quality lost to them and screeches and all that sort of stuff. Thatís why I had my pedal board built the way I did. The circuitry is on all the time. What you have is not an on-off switch. When you go to the switch, itís a bypass switch that the main line is running right through. There are lots of switches and thatís all youíre actually connected to. So your signal goes in and comes out to that much length of wire. You only go through the circuitry when youíre actually using the thing. So there are only one or two things circuited at a time. So you donít suffer that quality loss. I used to have a terrible time when it was done the other way.
So you really donít need the boosters to keep the signal strong?
No. I cut the volume control out when Iím not using it. Iíve got a switch to switch the volume pedal out and the tone pedal Iíve switched out. I can switch out absolutely anything. When Iíve got a master bypass, I can kind of preset a combination of things on the board before I cut them all in. And I can cut them all in at once with just pressing on the button. The whole lot comes together.
You donít ever get lost?
Sometimes. You would need an extra circuit for the lights, the little LEDs that come up. Before when they were connected onto the same pins, I used to get clicks and buzzes from the lighting circuits. So I didnít even used to have those. On the pedal board before, it didnít have that and Iíd get completely lost because you didnít know whether something was on or off. At least theyíve got these switches out in the last few years that you can have a completely separate circuit running the lights.
Have you had the Stratís inside shielded at all?
Not really, no. I always wire the earth through on my Fenders, so I donít have to rely on that bit of silver people underneath that the earth maybe runs through on.
What exactly do you do?
Well, I just connect the main volume and turn the controls to the outside of the jack plug socket so that my earth is going though. You often get Fenders cracking up or making noise because if the tone control or volume control is slightly loose, it stops making such a good connection. The earth is actually running through that bit of silver paper that is stuck on to the side. So I always get rid of that. I mean, I donít take the silver paper out, but I always have another way.
Do you use the vibrato bar much?
I do. Iíve always used it since when I first had a Strat.
Was that one of the main reasons for getting it?
One of the reasons, yeah. It also had three pickups and I like that. The Strat was always the guitar I wanted to have. My favorite guitar group when I was young was The Shadows. They were my idols as far as any guitar players England when I was young. They never made it over here, but I always listened to them. They were superb.
Do you find that you always keep your guitar in tune?
Is there anything that youíve gone through to ensure that?
|"I'm a person who's stuck within certain limitations, and I have to work within them."|
There are several things about Strats that Iíve discovered over the years that makes them go out of tune. The most common thing I think for a Stratocaster has something to do with the tremelo unit thatís screwed into the body from above, where it cuts down at an angle. The screws are going through it at the top of the body. Well, if those screws arenít adjusted exactly right, theyíre a tiny bit loose, the back main piece can jump up and down a fraction of an inch. Thatís what always used to do it to me. Before I put strings on, and that plate is lying actually flat on the body, I undo them a bit with a turn and take each of those six screws down. So they actually come down and touch dead-on to the surface of the plate. So they donít put any pressure on it. Thereís no gap, not even a fraction of an inch gap on there, all the way down that line. Thatís what does it, I think. Thatís what certainly what always seemed to screw up my guitar. Since I started doing that and checking on them, I never had too many problems.
The other thing that you can get going is when the string gets caught on the nut at the end of the neck. It sometimes happens when you use the tremelo. You push it down and the string moves along top of it and the nut. It doesnít come quite back again. But that shouldnít really happen if the nutís right. If you got your nut changed and you did the other thing I said, you shouldnít have problems with the Strat.
Did you replace your nut?
I have in fact. Thatís what had been causing it.
Did you put a brass nut on there?
No, just another one. That doesnít usually happen on Strats. Itís more common with the vibrato. It shouldnít happen on the vibrato either. Itís has something to do with it not being 100 percent adjusted.
How many springs do you use in the back?
On stage, I usually use four of the heavier gauged springs. And then I use three of the lighter gauge strings. I usually have three and then I adjust it some more by how far you screw in the thing that holds the spring. So you get it a small amount off the body.
Do you use maple or redwood necks?
In the black Strat I use is a redwood, but the Esquire is a maple. The best necks on the Strats have the maple. I like those. But I like ones specifically made by one guy. All the ones Iíve got or the ones that I can get a hold of if I can have got T.G. written on them. I suppose thatís a guy who used to make early Fender necks.
Do you find theyíre easier to play on?
I donít know about the sound, but they feel comfortable.
How often will you change strings?
On the road, I usually change mine every three gigs are so.
You donít find they get rather lifeless?
Not really. In the studio, I can leave them on for weeks.
Do you think your playing is any different live than in the studio? Do you have more freedom?
No. In fact, I feel very free in the studio sometimes because it doesnít matter at all what happens. Sometimes , like the places I was telling you doing a solo in the studio, you go completely dark and thrash the thing about. It is something that I couldnít really do on stage. Itís too silly for words, but I do it anyway. Some little things sometimes come out that I can maybe use again. At first, itís totally undisciplined, the way I work. Later on, I put some discipline to it as well. Theyíre both very lovely things, I guess. The experience of playing live and the experience of playing in the studio are two completely different kinds of discipline. Theyíre like different art forms and I really dig both ways.
Do you listen to any rhythm guitar players?
Not really, no.
Pete Townshend, Steve Marriott or Keith Richard?
I like Townshend. His is a kind of rhythm guitarist who also does lead playing. I think when he really breaks out on his own as a real lead guitarist, heís no great shakes really. He is just terribly heavy on his strings. I donít know how he could manage to play lead with strings on like that.
Do you think that your playing will improve or is improving?
I think itís as strong as itís ever been. There have been periods when I was very in practice-when weíd been working on the road for a longtime. Generally speak≠ing, I feel Iím playing as well as I can, but I still think I can improve.
2007 © Steven Rosen