UG AMA: Ask Steve Morse Anything!

You post questions in the comments, we forward 'em and get the answers.

Ultimate Guitar
UG AMA: Ask Steve Morse Anything!

It's been a while since we had a UG AMA, so we figured the time is right to change that with none other than Steve Morse.

In case you don't remember how this works, simply post your questions for Mr. Morse in the comments, we'll forward them to the man and get the replies pretty soon. Steve will be a part of the upcoming Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp in LA, and that's where we'll get him.

So, Steve Morse, the man, the legend. Born in 1954, he's the co-founder of fusion champs Dixie Dregs, releasing seven studio record since the gang was formed in 1970.

During mid- and late-'80s, he was a member of Kansas, only to switch to Deep Purple in 1994, where he still resides today.

As of 2012, Steve is also a member of progressive rock supergroup Flying Colors alongside Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue, Casey McPherson, and Neal Morse.

And now you get a chance to drop him a question in the comments. Show us what you got!

50 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hi Steve, big fan here. When you joined Purple, were you required to adapt your playing specifically for the band (ie: emulate Ritchie Blackmore) or were you given the freedom to play anyway you wanted? thx.
    Hello Mr. Morse! What's your favorite part of songwriting? I mean, when the idea is coming, arranging, studio recording, or something?
    What do you think the key to a good guitar tone is? Certainly arguments always seem to focus heavily on hands but what about gear. What role do EQ and effects play in this equation for you?
    What album other than one of your own do wish you had written/recorded?
    Hi Steve, I'll be in Fantasy camp. I would like to know which scales you are using in the solos, because most of them show a major intension. Also I would like to see how you do the introduction of Ted the mechanic. Cheers and see u soon, Adriano - brazilian guitarrist
    In what new bands do you think the future of rock will be? Which one of them do you like the most?
    You were the first instrumental artist I've got into. thank you so much for showing how well made music without vocals can be. don't have a question, just saying I'm a huge fan.
    You are the king of alternate picking. Was it a conscious decision to use that technique so much or did it come naturally?
    Do you feel that Deep Purple fans aren't giving the albums you've played on a fair shake and do you wish more of that material was getting played live?
    How do you put on a good show when not feeling well or on the eve of terrible personal news?
    Hi Steve, I remember reading an old Guitar Player article you were featured in where you mentioned you broke your arm skateboarding once, and had to adjust your guitar to accommodate for the cast. Do you still keep the modification, and do you still skate? lol
    Hello Steve. Huge Fan . What levels do you normally use on the volume and tone knobs on your guitar for rhythm and leads?
    Hi Steve , I was always curious on why you chose the 1 5/8 nut width on your EBMM. Did your original fender franenstein guitar have the same nut width? I own theee Steve Morse Guitars , blue burst , black burst with Floyd rose and one of the PDN models with a maple fret board in vintage tobacco. All very beautiful guitars. They sound amazing , the only thing I can't seem to play guitars with this nut width for extended times it starts to hurt my elbow. Was wondering if you ever had that problem and just got used to the nut width after a while . Also why do you prefer 250k pots for humbuckers? Thank you so much , the flying colors albums are amazing can't wait for another.
    I have to commend you in doing a fantastic job in replacing Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple. You have handled a very difficult transition with Purple fans with so much grace, respect, and positivity. After 23 years Deep Purple has evolved into Steve Morse’s band, but Purple still plays mostly 70’s classics. In 1996 Ritchie Blackmore said you are a brilliant guitar player and he is a fan of yours from the Dixie Dregs, but given your immense talent Ritchie wonders why you joined Deep Purple. (
    ) Why did you join Deep Purple? Will there ever be a Deep Purple tour where most of the concert is Steve Morse Purple songs? You have a fairly big catalog to pull from now that we all know. Have you done the “Purple writing thing” with one of Ritchie’s riffs for any of your songs with Purple? You know borrow a riff but tweak it around a bit to call it yours. Making a riff using fourths? Name another band that you think Deep Purple of today is most like musically? To me Purple now sounds like what Colloseum II would have become. I look forward to meeting you and playing with you at Purple Fantasy Camp!
    As a left-handed person who plays guitar right-handed, how would you say this has affected your playing, postively or negatively, if at all?
    How or when do you get your ideas for catchy melodies for guitar instrumental songs? Were they mainly devolped by personal experiences or perhaps by playing/practing on the guitar in free time?
    Hi Steve. You jammed with the Freefall era Dregs in January. What would you like to see as the next step: a tour? A recording? DVD?
    Hello Steve! I would like to ask which of your solos or whole songs have the most emotion to you and where do you feel that the guitar playing really projects your feelings most? Thank you in advance! Best regards, Claudia Heidemann
    Hello Mr. Morse. The acts you play for/with put some classics out. What, in your opinion, makes a song worth being remembered in a good way even 30 years later. Is there any difference between something like that back in the days and nowadays?
    Hey Steve, I imagine everyone gets better with age but you seemed otherworldly great with your songwriting and playing at a young age. I am still impressed with your abilities now but in what ways do you feel you are a better player and songwriter now.
    your sound has changed a lot over the years. Will we ever hear new Dixie Dregs again, and how would your sound change to play that music?
    How does writing process (for you as a musician and person) differ in Flying Colors and Deep Purple? Seems like there is no "main writing guy" in both of those bands. %fanboy-ish stuff here% When i was in front row in Saint Petersburg(russia, June 2016) You did that crescendo-guitar thing in your solo. I was able to hear actual sound of your pick hitting strings.. before there was volume-up of distortion\reverb\delay! Damn, that was awesome.
    Hey Steve, Cool guitar you've got in that photo. Is the purple colour down to being in Deep Purple or does that colour simply just appeal to you? Cheers
    Hi Steve, What's your opinion on the current country scene, and modern country guitar players ? By the way, I saw you three years ago with Deep Purple at the Nice Jazz Festival, best concert I've ever been to !! Cheers !
    Hey Steve, I'm a huge fans of yours and Love that JP/SL/PG/ interview on NAMM this year. I have a question: did your role as the only guitar player in Flying Colors diminished or less role after Casey McPherson play as rhythm guitar? or it was planned during the formation of the band?
    Hi Steve, Just got tickets to DP/Alice Cooper in Camden/Philadelphia. What can we expect to hear? I understand this may the final DP tour of the U.S.A.? Anything special in the works? I'd like to hear some obscure songs maybe? Also looking forward to the new album.
    Steve, What type of regular me do you use for staying so fit in your playing style. I have seen you many times and your still just blazing up there for a few hours. Im getting on in years and just wonder if you play other instruments to keep in shape or maybe have some tips for us that could help with fatigue. Thanks, Zakk
    What is your opinion of fretless guitars? When would you consider to use a fretless?
    What is your favorite project through the years except for Deep Purple?
    kill it
    Hello Steve, Are there any specific exercises or literature that you feel contributed the most to your alternate pick skills.
    Not so much of a question but any stories about your days at college and meeting with Jaco Pastorius and Pat Metheny. If I had a question I guess it would be "Who else was there when you were?" Seems the place was teeming with talent. Thanks for Coast to Coast and many other gems.
    What music do you listen to in your downtime? Are there any up and coming artists you think are particularly good?
    Hey Steve, Ron Fields from Fountain Hills AZ. It's been years and wanted to try and contact you as I don't have your # anymore. Can you PM me on FB? I know it's a odd & a longshot but thought I'd chance it. Thx!