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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 Anna-Lynne Williams of Lotte Kestner
June 2010

Name: Anna-Lynne Williams
Bands: Lotte Kestner, Trespassers William
Websites: www.lieinthesound.fr, www.trespasserswilliam.com
Listen to "Fainting Spells"

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

Anna-Lynne – My parents bought me a cheap classical guitar when I was in high school. I actually donated it to a garage sale raising money after Hurricane Katrina. Otherwise I probably would’ve kept it around for posterity.

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

Anna-Lynne – I use all my guitar pedals on my voice & the guitar stays clean. Sometimes I’ll use the trem or overdrive on a Vox amp if I’m playing electric guitar.

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

Anna-Lynne – Acoustic guitar.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Anna-Lynne – I need to get a new one... right now I have a buzzy little Vox amp.

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

Anna-Lynne – Rosewood Martin acoustic with a concert sized body. I just had an antique Gibson pick-up installed... it sounds great.

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

Anna-Lynne – A hollow body. Not too big. Warm sound, dark stain.

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

Anna-Lynne – Reverse delay.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Anna-Lynne – Three.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Anna-Lynne – One in the bedroom, two in the attic/studio.

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

Anna-Lynne – If it sounds different from my other guitars, if it feels good in my hands, if it’s not too bright sounding or too clunky.

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

Anna-Lynne – Between $1000 & $2000.

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

Anna-Lynne – so long as it’s set up well I leave them alone. Except for that new pick-up I haven’t done anything else to my guitars.

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

Anna-Lynne – I usually buy things on a whim when I’m in a beautiful mood & I try something & it seems right. No research.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Anna-Lynne – I’ll add a new pedal maybe once a year.

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

Anna-Lynne – I like having a standard acoustic & a hollow body around to choose from.

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

Anna-Lynne – Santa Cruz acoustics sound amazing. I can’t afford them. & I’d like to buy some Electro Harmonix pedals; I don’t have any at the moment.

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

Anna-Lynne – I shouldn’t have bought a guitar on Ebay, but it was pretty. It didn’t record well & it smelled weirdly musty & I ended up re-selling it.

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

Anna-Lynne – I can’t get away from Martins. & Boss pedals. I like Fender amps.

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

Anna-Lynne – Something of mine.…

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

Anna-Lynne – Maybe 16?

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

Anna-Lynne – Around 29 I recorded my first solo album & that made me better with timing & got me playing without a pick.

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

Anna-Lynne – It’s portable, & you can take it to bed.

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

Anna-Lynne – Guitar or piano.

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

Anna-Lynne – So long as it stays in tune, it’s my ally.

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

Anna-Lynne – I don’t play properly, so I doubt I sound like my favorites. I like Sam Beam’s guitar playing.

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

Anna-Lynne – Mmm.... silly.

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

Anna-Lynne – One of my Martins tipped off its stand onto my hardwood floor & the binding split. I took it straight to the doctor.

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

Anna-Lynne – Nothing besides straight up playing.

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

Anna-Lynne – 10 hours a week maybe, if I’m not in the studio or on tour.

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

Anna-Lynne – Medium or none.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Anna-Lynne – I never change my strings. I don’t even know their gauge. I like dull strings.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Anna-Lynne – Only if I’m installing a pick-up or a battery or something.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Anna-Lynne – Hasn’t happened yet.

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

Anna-Lynne – Fretting. I think I was meant to be left handed.

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

Anna-Lynne – I’ve only had one guitar set up, this girl down the road from me is really good.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Anna-Lynne – Just standard.

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

Anna-Lynne – I have my own bizarre system, which includes me drawing the fret board as well as writing a series of paired numbers.…

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

Anna-Lynne – I play with my acoustic flat in my lap.

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

Anna-Lynne – I make too much fretboard noise. But I kind of like that on recordings.

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

Anna-Lynne – I played piano first & that helped me.

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

Anna-Lynne – I can’t use a slide with the way I play. That would be nice.

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

Anna-Lynne – There are a few chords that kill my hand so I avoid them

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

Anna-Lynne – No, & you can tell.

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

Anna-Lynne – Play the guitar flat with their fretting hand over the neck instead of under.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Anna-Lynne – Tremolo is pretty.

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

Anna-Lynne – Creativity.

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

Anna-Lynne – No!

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

Anna-Lynne – Nick Drake’s dark mahogany Guild.