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Did you use 7-string guitars for the
rhythm part of that tune?
Totman: Yeah, we have always had them here and there on albums. All of “Fallen World” is on the 7-string, because that is the way the key turned out. It panned out by accident actually because it wasn’t supposed to be on 7-string. Once we figured out what key suited Marc’s voice, we kept finding we were coming up on this low B chord.
Li: There is a section of “Cry Thunder” where we just bring the 7-string in really quickly, which I think is just before the solo kicked off just to add a little power. The heavy riff on “Give Me The Night” is on a 7-string.
How did you approach your guitar tones
for this album?
Li: We try to make the two guitars sound slightly different so they complement each other. One has a bit more low end and the other backs off on that and maybe adds more mids. Also the pickups are different. On Sam’s guitar, he has a neck-through body with DiMarzio Evolution pickups.
What guitars did you use on the album?
Li: We used the usual Ibanez signature guitars, the EGEN18 and Sam’s STM model. He had two of them, the white one had the DiMarzio Evolution pickups and I think we put a pair of D Activator pickups on the blue one. My guitars were pretty much stock but we did add some 7-string guitars on this album, so Ibanez made a 7-string version of my signature model and Sam used an Ibanez RG7620.
Is the 7-string model a prototype for an
Li: No, I just got a custom one. No plans to release a 7-string model at the moment.
Tell me about how you used the 30-fret
guitar on the album.
Totman: I used that quite a lot, in fact. I would wind up doing some lead or something and the way the key happened to be, I wanted to get to a certain note and I found that this guitar was very useful.
Li: It was mostly used to do the high harmonies. In the old days, we would do a part and then tune up the strings, but now with this 30-fret Ibanez RG it really helped us to try some things out. It worked great for some crazy high notes, tapping, and things like that. The last solo on “Fallen World” you can hear some of that and on “Heart of the Storm.”
What’s the most difficult part about playing
those fast tempos?
Totman: The rhythm guitar. You might do a lick in a solo on a ballad and it’s just as fast as something you might play in a fast song. Those fast songs, especially “Fallen World,” it was just doing the rhythm with the backwards and forwards picking at that speed. That was on 7-string guitar as well, which is quite hard to get the sound clean without it turning into a mess. I couldn’t do that straight away. In fact, we have to put in the middle of the set, because I need warming up for that, definitely.
Do you guys take different approaches to
your pre-gig warm-ups?
Li: These days I do a one-hour warm-up before the show, but not by playing fast because then my hands would be tired. I just relax and play through my little Boss BR-80. It has all the songs pre-loaded and I just plug my guitar and in-ear monitors right into it and play along. I do that for about an hour and then just unplug my monitors into my stage pack and there we go. Even when there are people around drinking, I can carry around and practice.
Totman: Yeah, I just sit there and practice a bit, I suppose. I don’t do a lot of warming up. The way I see it is you aren’t going to have to play a lead until halfway through the first song, so by the time I get to the first lead I am warmed up because I have been playing rhythm for a few minutes. I pretty much don’t bother.