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September 2014
more... GuitaristsBluesClassic RockAugust 2011Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Interview: Kenny Wayne Shepherd - How He Goes

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Interview: Kenny Wayne Shepherd - How He Goes

How about effects?

On the record I used two different wahs. I used my original Vox Clyde McCoy Wah and a Custom Audio Electronics Wah that Dunlop makes. Then I used the Analog Man King of Tone Overdrive pedal, an Ibanez TS808 handwired Tube Screamer, and an original TS808 that I have. I used an Analog Man Bi-Chorus pedal, and a Pigtronix Envelope Phaser. The Envelope Phaser was only used on one song in combination with the Analog Man Bi-Chorus.

There’s a bunch of Octavia on this record.

I have an original Tycobrahe Octavia, and Chicago Iron, the company that reissues them, sent me one of theirs. A lot of times I was sending multiple effects to different amplifiers. I had the original Octavia going to one amp and the reissue going to another amp separately, and ran them in stereo at the same time.

Even though it’s the same tone, they’re still slightly different and combining the two gives a unique sound. It’s a slightly more unique sound than just using one pedal or the other, and having it come through two individual amps. I also did the same thing with the Fuzz Face. I have an original Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, one of the blue ones from the late ’60s or early ’70s. I also have one of the reissues and I ran those in stereo through two different amps. That was a pretty cool sound.

What did you use on the solo to “Yer Blues?”

That’s an old-school octave pedal that my engineer had. It’s always been one of those kinds of effects that I didn’t really like so much because I always liked the Octavia, which is the octave up. The octave pedal is an octave down, but it sounded cool and really fattened up the guitar tone for the rhythm part and the solo.

Which one did you use on “Come On Over?

That was the original Tycobrahe Octavia and I used it for the entire song, even as a rhythm sound. I don’t know if anyone’s ever done that since most people throw an Octavia on for a solo or something.

Is that the Dumble on the solo to “Anywhere The Wind Blows?”

Straight Dumble. [Laughing.] That’s my Dumble with some delay that was put on by my engineer. It’s just cranked up.

The record has a lot of colors. Every track has something different in terms of guitar sounds.

Thanks. I tried to make a tonally diverse record, although most of what you’re hearing is Stratocasters and a handful of different amplifiers. It wasn’t like I had 35 amps and 35 guitars. By most guitarist’s standards, I use a pretty modest collection of equipment, but the sounds I’ve achieved are a testament to that equipment and the diversity of the amps. There are so many sounds you can get out of them if you just tweak them a little bit.

What’s your main guitar?

The primary guitar for me in the studio is my ’61 Strat. I also used a ’59 hardtail Strat with a maple neck that I acquired while I was doing the record, using it on several songs. My signature series Strat was used on a bunch of songs, along with the clone of my ’61 that Fender made me. It’s an exact replica, so I can leave the original guitar at home, and take the clone on the road.

Are you still using the Monterey Strat?

I’ve been using it ever since I got it back in the ’90s and have been closing the show with it on “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” When we do fly dates, I’ve just been using my signature guitar because the Monterey is pretty valuable and I don’t want the airlines to lose it. But when I’m on the road touring with all my own equipment, that’s the one I pull out for the encore.

You’ve been framed as a Stevie Ray Vaughan guy. Do you get sick of that?

You can’t please everybody and there’s always going to be haters out there. They want to throw me in a category of being a Stevie Ray clone as if I can’t do anything beyond what he did. Those people obviously have never really given my music a fair listen. I’ve done tons of music that I don’t think Stevie Ray Vaughan ever would have done. I’ve never heard Stevie Ray Vaughan do anything like “Blue On Black,” and it was number one for 17 consecutive weeks on the rock charts.

I believe people are referring to your phrasing.

I’m an artist and I think I go way beyond my influence from Stevie, but he was almost single-handedly responsible for inspiring me to play guitar. There’s no denying that. If there wasn’t a Stevie Ray Vaughan, there probably wouldn’t be a Kenny Wayne Shepherd. He was my hero and he still is one of my heroes.

I just make music for myself and for the people who enjoy what I do—I appreciate the compliments from the people who do dig it. There’s always going to be a Stevie Ray Vaughan influence on what I do and I owe that to him for being such a big influence.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s Gear Box

Guitars
Fender ’61 Stratocaster
Fender ’59 Stratocaster
Fender Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster
Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey Pop Stratocaster

Amps
’64 Fender Blackface Vibroverb
’65 Fender Twin Reissue
’57 Fender Tweed Twin
Dumble Overdrive Special
Dumble Tweedle Dee Deluxe

Effects
Vox Clyde McCoy Wah
Custom Audio Electronics MC-404 Wah
Analog Man King of Tone Overdrive
Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer
Analog Man Bi-Chorus
Pigtronix Envelope Phaser
Original Roger Mayer Tycobrahe Octavia
Chicago Iron Tycobrahe Octavia SE
Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face

Strings
Ernie Ball Power Slinkys .011-.058
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