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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 Sibyll Kalff
June 2010

Name: Sibyll Kalff
Bands:  “the horse cock kids”, studio b, spunx distorted, missippi goddamn, & various other jam & session & side projects (though I did not & do not play guitar in all them, having been a bassist in the first place) 
Websites: www.sibyll-kalff.com, myspace.com/sibyllk, myspace.com/mitchellrobert, myspace.com/projectstudiob, myspace.com/thehorsecockkids, www.myspace.com/spunxdistorted
free mp 3 downloads at sibyllkalff.com/music.htm
Listen to "Truth of Yes"

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

Sibyll – Actually I started out as a bassist! Though I was playing all kinds of guitars, acoustic & electric ones all the time, too. When I was a kid I had a very old crappy no name acoustic guitar first - loved it - was playing really stupid songs & ditties - but apart from having the brain of the papa elephant in general, I can really not remember what happened to it. 

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

Sibyll – I hardly ever used effects at all, & just plain use a loooooong cable. 

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

Sibyll – As I don’t use effects, thus guitar & amplifier. 

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Sibyll – Right now a little Vox amp, great one, very small, but it has a lot of power. It is very handy, you can use it for playing in the streets, in small, mid size clubs & have it run over any PA of course, too (don’t laugh). I had for a long time a Regent amp (old former DDR amplifier, that I used as a bass amp!) but I played all kinds of amps over the years. I love Fender Twin Reverb ones (though never had any) very much! 

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

Sibyll – Right now it’s a Fender Tele copy (my favourite ones, along with Gretsch guitars, though I never owned any original one). Sand colour. 

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

Sibyll – Hmm... I’ll show you later, ok? 

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

Sibyll – I am actually not sure whether I’d want one.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Sibyll – Right now, one. In those days back yonder we had many guitars & basses, but we ate them all in the mean times. 

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Sibyll – Various styles over the years, depending on the number of guitars & situations. Right now, plain simple, plain upright. Standing. 

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

Sibyll – That it sounds to my likings & in the first place that it feels right. That’s the most important, it must feel immediately “yours” & smooth & funky to play. If it’s “yours” you feel it in 3 secs (sound included).

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

Sibyll – Well, difficult to say, of course a good price comes in very convenient! But it depends on the guitar; you can find $2 guitars with the best sound & pay $100s for guitars that plain don’t have it. (I’d rather pay the $2!)

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

Sibyll – Depends in what condition they are. Normally I love them as plain as can be.

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

Sibyll – Depends on the piece of equipment. As thoroughly as I can of course. 

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Sibyll – Not too much. 

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

Sibyll – It must have “that” tone... & if it has, I do not change too much, apart from, sometimes it’s of course great to plain mess around for fun. 

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

Sibyll – See above, Fender Twin Reverbs, Fender Telecasters (Fender Precision Basses), Gretsch guitars, good acoustic ones e.g. & of course I totally love all old tube amps

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

Sibyll – That it’s plain “your” guitar sound & feel wise.

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

Sibyll – My lil Tele is one of the good purchases. I went into the store asked, “What’s ya cheapest Tele copy today?” They told me “Ah, wait a sec, ya can have that crappy yellow one.” & after 3 secs, I know, hey that’s my baby, it’s a gooder. 

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

Sibyll – See above please!

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

Sibyll – Some of my favourite chords & licks.

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

Sibyll – I don’t remember exactly, but I when I was a kid. 

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

Sibyll – Stay tuned, please....

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

Sibyll – Though I play many instruments altogether, in the last years I focused on guitar, just because after decades of playing bass, I kinda felt like it. & you can more easily take it along than a grand piano, that adds of course. 

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

Sibyll – I think, this really totally depends on one’s personal likings, what instrument to chose as a first one.

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

Sibyll – My ever ally; but ok, that can change rapidly into something else in moments, too.

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

Sibyll – Man, there’re so many good ones I ever since love, you find many of them on all my pages or as references on my pages, rather check them all out there, will ya? 

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

Sibyll – Depends on the result, I’d say. 

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

Sibyll – (...) 

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

Sibyll – I normally do practice while playing. 

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

Sibyll – Totally varies & depends on the situation I am in. I love to play some 5 to 10 hours a day, when I got the time & space for it though.... 

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

Sibyll – Fender medium picks are my favourite brand. In all colours & styles. 

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Sibyll – Depends & varies. 

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Sibyll – I can be rather sloppy with that, in the first place surely when one breaks. 

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Sibyll – I try hard to avoid it. 

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

Sibyll – Again, please?

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

Sibyll – Myself. I actually never had one. 

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Sibyll – The most appropriate to the given situation & mood. (Most of the time this very well know common one though.) The rest is pluriversal quantum physics....

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

Sibyll – As I just plain improvise for more then 20 years, I hardly write anything down, if at all, then most of the time in “sibyllinic tabs.”

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

Sibyll – Loooooooooooooooow, baby, looooooooooooooooooow...

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

Sibyll – You tell!

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

Sibyll – A guitar? 

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

Sibyll – I always have this personal habit not to answer any question # 42!

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

Sibyll – Do I have to? 

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

Sibyll – Sorry, the latest I learned was match trix!

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

Sibyll – Please consult my....

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

Sibyll – Nope. 

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

Sibyll – Just play & play &.... 

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

Sibyll – Maybe rather ask that someone?

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems? 

Sibyll – Some few are “allowed” to use them....

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

Sibyll – The spelling? 

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

Sibyll – Hardly. 

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

Sibyll – Hmmm, there’d be some... maybe some of Keith’s Teles? 

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

Sibyll – Can’t name just one, there are too many great cats out there....

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Sibyll – Hmmm.…

QRD – Anything else?

Sibyll – With mucho mas “love *n* roll!” ... pt xox ...