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QRD #41 - Guitarist Interview Series Part I - June 2010
about this issue
Guitarist Interviews with:
Jason LaFarge
Aidan Baker
Jamie Stewart
Brian John Mitchell
Martin Newman
Mat Sweet
Robin Crutchfield
Darren Hayman
Anna-Lynne Williams
Larry Marotta
Andrew Weathers
Mike Cosper
Sibyll Kalff
Tam
Jamie Barnes
Nathan Amundson
Jenks Miller
Chris Olley
Don Campau
Colin Newman
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Guitarist Interview with Andrew Weathers
June 2010
Photo by Hannah JonesPhoto by Hannah Jones
Name: Andrew Weathers
Bands: Solo, in the past, Hidden Lake Park, Acid of All Ruins, Morrowville
Websites: www.andrewweathers.com

QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it? 

Andrew – I had a black Squire Stratocaster that got quickly covered in stickers. I recently traded it to a friend’s younger brother for a snare drum.

QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier? 

Andrew – Various iterations of the same theme - Epiphone SG - Volume, Distortion, Delay - computer - house PA, borrowed amp or a shitty amp of mine.

QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig – guitar, amplifier, or effects? 

Andrew – Effects. By the time the guitar runs through everything, any kind of pure tone is long gone.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Andrew – I have a Fender 212, & it’s just what I’ve had for years.

QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?

Andrew – Epiphone SG, again, I’ve just had it for years. I’ve wanted to get a new one, but it just feels comfortable in my hands, & I don’t play as well on other guitars.

QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?

Andrew – It would look like a Fender Jazzmaster & have built-in MIDI pickups.

QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?

Andrew – A wah pedal that has two outputs - one that sends filtered sound, then another that sends out the sound that was filtered out. This wah would also have a much larger range than your typical wah.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Andrew – Epiphone SG, off brand acoustic, off brand Les Paul knockoff, Squire Stratocaster.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Andrew – They mostly stay in their cases in my house, but the SG stays on a stand next to my pedal set up.

QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?

Andrew – I haven’t thought about that in a long time, it’s been a while since I’ve bought a guitar. Last time I was just looking for a guitar that stayed in tune. Now I would look for a guitar that has timbral versatility.

QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?

Andrew – $600.

QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?

Andrew – I stick with what I get.

QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?

Andrew – If it’s less than $100, it’s usually an impulse purchase. More than that & I’ll do as much research as the internet allows, but I usually don’t get a chance to try things out.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Andrew – Really often, a lot of pieces end up being based around a new organization of my equipment.

QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?

Andrew – I try to change it a lot, but I think I’ve been stuck in a rut for a while.

QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?

Andrew – Fender Jazzmaster & Jaguar. I would really like an Electro Harmonix Hog, too. Or a Baritone guitar.

QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?

Andrew – Tuning pegs that stay in tune, that was my trouble with all of my first guitars.

QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?

Andrew – Worst - a Boss Slicer pedal. I thought it was going to be really cool, but it absolutely wasn’t at all. The best was probably my recent purchase of a pedal board. It’s going to save me a lot of time at shows.

QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?

Andrew – I’m really hating M-Audio recently. I use one of their audio interfaces, & the preamps on it are really awful. Also, I don’t want to hate it, but I’ve been having a lot of trouble with Electro Harmonix pedals lately. I think they sound really great & they make some really interesting things, but I think they’re inconsistent. Some pedals will have an irreparable hum & some won’t. It just doesn’t make sense.

QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?

Andrew – D - F# - A - F# - D

QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?

Andrew – 13.

QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?

Andrew – I still haven’t leveled, I’m really bad at guitar.

QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?

Andrew – I really don’t think it fits me very well. I think I look really awkward with a guitar in my hands. But I think it fits my attitude towards playing, in that it’s a pretty versatile instrument that works in a lot of different contexts, from solo playing to playing in groups, which is what I like about it.

QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?

Andrew – I wish that it wasn’t, I get a little exhausted from the amount of “White Boys with Acoustic Guitars” that I see, but it makes sense. It’s an instrument that’s become inexpensive & it doesn’t take a lot of time to get proficient at it.

QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?

Andrew – Adversary. I get frustrated by the small range it has, & by the way that certain chord voicings just won’t work.

QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound? 

Andrew – Fennesz, Christopher Willits, the guys in Explosions in the Sky, Jonsi from Sigur Ros, Cody Bonette from a band called As Cities Burn, Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca lately.

QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly?

Andrew – It’s not for me, but I understand it. One develops a relationship with your instrument.

QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?

Andrew – I’ve got no horror stories; I don’t play very hard.

QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?

Andrew – Almost zero, I just play.

QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?

Andrew – 3, but I’d like to be more at 10 - 14.

QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?

Andrew – The orange Fender picks, because they’re a good middle ground. Too thin & there’s too much pick noise. I used to use REALLY thick picks, but I broke too many strings.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Andrew – Flatwound 13 - 56. I like how flatwound strings feel on my fingers, & I like the smooth sound from relatively thick strings.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Andrew – Not often enough, about every 2 months.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Andrew – Usually at the end of the tour, I’ll break one.

QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?

Andrew – My fretting hand. I’m left handed, but I learned to play guitar right handed. I think it shows up in how I play. My right hand doesn’t really do very much, but my left hand moves around a lot.

QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?

Andrew – I send it to a tech, I just don’t trust myself to do it right.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Andrew – I play in standard usually. Sometimes I’ll use the “American Football” tuning, if I want to go for that sound. When I record, sometimes I’ll make up tunings so I can play parts that don’t sound like normal guitar parts.

QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?

Andrew – I use a lot of my own notation, which is a mixture of standard notation & graphic score techniques. But if I’m playing someone else’s music, I like chord charts a lot.

QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?

Andrew – Pretty high up, so the bottom of my guitar doesn’t reach past my waist.

QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?

Andrew – Playing in one range for too long, I don’t explore the neck enough.

QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?

Andrew – Learning banjo has actually transferred into my guitar playing lately.

QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?

Andrew – Fingerpicking. It sounds so, so great & I just can’t possibly do it. Also, I would love to be able to shred.

QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?

Andrew – Guitar soloing. I’d also like to play with feedback more efficiently. I’m working on that one.

QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?

Andrew – The dominant seventh chord.

QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?

Andrew – Sweep picking.

QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?

Andrew – I never did, I taught myself.

QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?

Andrew – I’d like to think I could teach someone how to think about improvising, but I’ve never been able to.

QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?

Andrew – Pick four chords, play notes from those chords & add a lot of delay.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Andrew – I have no use for them right now.

QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?

Andrew – I’d rather there not be a difference. I think it’s a distinction made by a player who thinks too highly of himself.

QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?

Andrew – Absolutely, I like listening to interesting guitar things.

QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?

Andrew – Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein.

QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?

Andrew – Christopher Willits. With his “folding” technique, he’s developed a style that really integrates electronics with guitar playing, in a way that really transcends what most people are doing with guitar & computers.

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Andrew – My album, A Great Southern City. It’s my first where the guitar isn’t consistently processed.

QRD – Anything else?

Andrew – I feel like this probably makes me sound like I don’t know how to play guitar. But thanks, Dad, for asking me to do it!

Other QRD interviews with Andrew Weathers:
Interview with Andrew Weathers (March 2009)