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January 15
more... GuitaristsBluesSeptember 2011Matt Schofield

Matt Schofield: Blues Man With No Master Plan

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Matt Schofield: Blues Man With No Master Plan



Photos by Jason Shadrick

Matt Schofield's Gearbox
Guitars
1961 Fender Strat, Daytona Blue SVL 61, SVL 59 hardtail, Tele-style SVL Custom Deluxe (below)

Amps
Two-Rock Classic Reverb 50 with dual GZ34 rectifiers and 6L6 power section, Two-Rock 4x10 with Eminence Ragin Cajun speakers (live), Two- Rock 2x12 with Two-Rock spec Eminence and WGS speakers (studio)

Effects
Providence SOV-2 Overdrive (“My favorite overdrive ever”), Klon Centaur (for clean boost), Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay (“It’s always on, but barely audible—set just longer than a slapback for a bit of extra ambience”), Mad Professor Forest Green Compressor (studio), Providence Final Booster (studio)

Strings, Picks, and Accessories
Curt Mangan Matt Schofield Signature strings (.011, .014, .018, .028, .038, .054), 1mm Curt Mangan Curtex picks, Sonic Research ST-200 Turbo Tuner, Providence cables (E205, S102, and P203 models)

SVL Guitars’ Simon Law on Schofield’s 6-strings
“I have known Matt for many, many years, and I’ve always known him to be a real player—a real tone guy,” says Simon Law of SVL Guitars in Gloucestershire, England. Law has worked as Schofield’s guitar tech since 2006—the same year the two began discussing building a guitar that Schofield could take on the road instead of his precious 1961 Strat.

“Matt is such a killer guy to build and mend stuff for, because he gets it: He plugs the guitar straight into the amp and it sounds like Matt playing a good guitar through a good amp. He’d sound good with a Squier Strat and a solid-state amp. However, give him a good guitar and amp, and he sounds like a million dollars.”



Photos courtesy of SVL Guitars

“His ear for what makes the difference was obvious to me from the start,” Law continues. “I had built a Tele-type guitar called the SVL Custom Deluxe, which is an ash-body hardtail with two mini humbuckers—an absolute killer guitar. He used the guitar when he played with Ian Siegal at the North Sea Jazz Festival that year, and later he told me what he liked about that guitar and what he didn’t like. I made notes on nut width, neck radius, and profile, etc., and the next year I made the first SVL 61 in Vintage White with a flatter Brazilian [rosewood] fretboard. He really dug it, but it just wasn’t quite right for him. I realized I was going to have to dig deeper.”

It took a few more prototypes before Schofield was happy, with each one getting closer and closer, “until I cracked the vintage code a couple of years ago with his SVL 61 in Daytona Blue (above middle). That guitar was just right for him—I even measured the exact neck-pocket depth to make sure his pickups could be set the same as on his old ’61 Strat. The contours are bang on, and even the feel of the neck. It took me about a year to build, but he bonded with it instantly and has played it ever since. I have built him one more guitar since, his SVL 59—a one-piece, ash-body hardtail with custom-wound Amalfitano pickups (above left and right). Up until this one, he had been using the Suhr Fletcher Landau Classics.”

As for the setup of Schofield’s guitars, Law says they’re pretty straightforward. “He’s got medium-high action with .011–.054 Curt Mangan strings. I also fit his guitars with Oak Grigsby double-wafer switches so his tone controls are not in the circuit at all when he’s using the in-between sounds—it makes for a way funkier-sounding guitar.”

Asked what new things are in store for Schofield’s rig, Law says, “I’m currently building something else for him, something more like an old SVL 61 that someone has stripped and waxed—a real tone guitar with almost no finish on it. Hopefully, you’ll be seeing this guitar out pretty soon.”
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