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Years playing: 40
Home turf: Los Angeles
Current/former bands: Various, I currently compose the music for "CSI: Miami" and "Star Wars: Clone Wars" TV shows. I play on all my own tracks.
First guitar: '72 Strat
Favorite guitar: I can’t give just one. Right now I’m having fun with the R. Taylor, the Teuffel Birdfish, and the GuitarViol -- the latter two just because they are so different and experimental. But if you put me on a deserted island, it would have to be: 1) Les Paul Standard; 2) The Don Grosh Strat (yes, I like it better than the real thing); and 3) The Gibson L7.
Favorite amp: Marshall JCM100
Favorite effect: Chandler Tube Driver
Favorite strings: D’Addario XL Nickel Wound 11s
Favorite cable: Monster
Other gear in my stash: Pod XT Pro straight into a Universal Audio 2-610 tube pre amp into Pro Tools (all of the Line 6 guitar model packs using "Line 6 edit" on the Mac).
Give us the back story on an item in your gear stash that you’ve sent a photo of...
The GuitarViol is made by a guy named Jonathan Wilson near L.A. I saw it at the NAMM show a few years ago, and had him make one for me. It has a tremendous amount of potential for experimental sounds and melodies, but boy is it a bear to learn how to bow! I’ve been working on the bowing technique off and on for several years now, and am just getting comfortable with it. As a TV and film composer, I’m always looking for something that will make my tracks unique. This helps quite a bit in that respect, but I’d hate to try to play it live. Jonathan is currently developing an acoustic model. I played the prototype, and it's really cool—almost like a cello but different. I’ll probably order one pretty soon.
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I’ve been using the Egyptian Oud quite a lot recently. Sitting down to practice that thing can be quite a chore. The shape isn’t really conducive to fitting the human body, so it’s constantly slipping down (because the back is this giant bowl). Also, the style most Middle Eastern guys use is extremely ponticello (picked hard right next to the bridge), so after a while it can get a little harsh on the ears—it’s no wonder there’s so much strife in the Middle East.
What's your philosophy on tone?
If you want to rock, nothing beats a Les Paul played through a Marshall stack turned up loud with maybe a Tube Screamer. There, now the secret is out...
The Teuffel Birdfish Guitar. The pickups are removable, so you can create combinations of single coil and double coil. I also have an extra set of “tone bars” made of Alder, which changes the sound as well.
Using the Birdfish on a cue for “Clone Wars.”
Front row left to right: My first “real” guitar ‘72 Fender Strat (since fitted with Roland guitar to midi pickup), ‘51 Gibson L7 with D’Armand pickup, Don Grosh “Strat”.
Left to Right: Kanata Charango de Oro (body is a real Armadillo), ‘66 Martin Mandolin (passed down from my grandfather), Tahitian Ukulele bought off an old guy in Bora Bora, Daddy Mojo Cigar Box Guitar, Turkish Cumbus (pronounced “chumbush), Greek Bouzouki from Marina Music, Egyptian Oud.
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