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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
Mike Cosper
Sibyll Kalff
Jamie Barnes
Nathan Amundson
Jenks Miller
Chris Olley
Don Campau
Colin Newman
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Guitarist Interview with Mat Sweet of Boduf Songs
June 2010

Name: Mat Sweet
Bands: Boduf Songs
Websites: bodufsongs.com
Listen to "Things Not to Be Done on the Sabbath"
Listen to "Quiet When Group"

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

Mat – It was a demented looking homemade thing that I picked up at a car-boot sale for some very few monies. Sounded like crap, wouldn’t stay in tune for five minutes. I gave it to someone else a few years later when I upgraded.

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

Mat – Fender Jagmaster, Peterson Strobostomp tuner, Line 6 Echo Park, whatever amp I can borrow.

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

Mat – Guitar I guess, just because I’m comfortable with it.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why? 

Mat – Nope.

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

Mat – The Jagmaster has a sticker on it of a skeleton rolling double snake eyes & it says “let’s roll!”

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

Mat – As above.

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

Mat – Hardware equivalent of a dark-ware bit crusher.

QRD – How many guitars do you own? 

Mat – One acoustic, one electric, one bass.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars? 

Mat – On stands around my room.

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

Mat – Just something that feels right & special.

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

Mat – I usually have a preference for cheaper gear - more costly things just feel wrong in my hands.

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

Mat – Not much customizing beyond re-stringing & tuning down. 

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

Mat – I tend to do a lot of research before any kind of investment, but I find that I really need to have something for a while & use it before I can form a reliable opinion on it for myself. I actually had a Jaguar before I got the Jagmaster, & it took me 4 or 5 weeks of usage to realise it wasn’t right for me. I knew pretty quickly with the Jagmaster, which was about a fifth of the price.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Mat – Not really - I have certain bits of hardware & software that I rely on.

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

Mat – I like to have a few different options - use lots of VSTs & a Line 6 Pod for recording.

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

Mat – It’d be nice to have an amp - Fender Twin would be good. I much prefer combos, even for big heavy riffery.

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

Mat – Ability to stay in tune.

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

Mat – Nothing springs to mind, but it’s certainly not unusual for me to buy something then resell it a few months later because it didn’t quite work out.

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

Mat – Shonky cheapo stuff usually isn’t worth the money saved, for it will be rubbishy & break quickly.

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

Mat – Sleep – “Dragonaut.”

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

Mat – I used to “play” my dad’s electric guitar when I was 12 or 13, but it was long time after that that I started actually thinking about what I was doing. 

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

Mat – Still working on my overhand/underhand technique.

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

Mat – Uh, it doesn’t really... I started off playing the drums, & feel much more confident behind a kit. In truth I would have a lot more to say if these questions were drum-oriented. Playing guitar was more of a move for the sake of songwriting than anything else.

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

Mat – There are a lot of guitarists around because it makes a fun sound & looks cool. I guess it might be interesting if more people started on something else?

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

Mat – Ally. Me & my axe against the world.

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

Mat – Tony Iommi/Dave Pajo.

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

Mat – Both. Mainly silly.

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

Mat – Took apart my first guitar & stripped it without having a clue about the complexities of putting it back together correctly. Gave it away soon after that.

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

Mat – Think about Yngwie Malmsteen whilst masturbating.

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

Mat – Depends whether I’m recording/rehearsing... maybe 7 hours a week on average? 

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

Mat – I think it’s a 0.5 - feels right.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why? 

Mat – Big fat ones - they work best with low tuning.

QRD – How often do you change strings? 

Mat – When they break.

QRD – How often do you break strings? 

Mat – Not very often.

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

Mat – Strumming hand has tricks, fretting hand is pretty lame. Result = shoddy work all round.

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

Mat – Pay for a set-up once in a blue moon to keep things ticking over.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why? 

Mat – Tuned to B with standard intervals - so, like E but 5 frets lower.

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

Mat – Tape recorder.

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

Mat – Usually sitting down.

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

Mat – Doing finger-tap solos during practice.

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

Mat – Drums.

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

Mat – Hidden mongoose/darkpalm style.

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

Mat – Mastering the hidden mongoose/darkpalm style.

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

Mat – F#.

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

Mat – G.

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

Mat – No sir.

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

Mat – Picked harmonics.

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

Mat – Be fairly crap at playing guitar.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems? 

Mat – Too much hassle for tuning.

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

Mat – Finger-tapping skills.

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

Mat – Nope.

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

Mat – A ludicrously expensive one so I can pay rent next month.

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

Mat – Maybe Creston Spiers (Harvey Milk) for having extreme heavyosity without being dull & cliché or something.

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work? 

Mat – In the future.

QRD – Anything else? 

Mat – Thanks awfully.