QRD - Current Issue   About QRD   QRD Archives
QRD #42 - Guitarist Series
about this issue
Guitarist Interviews with:
Ashkelon Sain
Zac Keiller
Eric Muhs
Patrick Vega
Russ Stedman
Bret Hart
Rick Ray
John William Gordon
Evan Peta
Evgeny Zheyda
Dave Halverson
Charles Rice Goff III
Calvin Johnson
Kim Chee
John G Sosnowski
Michael Walton
Annelies Monseré
Eric Quach
Robert Poss
Sarah June
Ted Johnson
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
QRD - Advertise
Silber Records
Silber Button Factory
Cerebus TV
Silber Kickstarter
Guitarist Interview with Eric Quach 
July 2010

Name: Eric Quach
Bands: thisquietarmy, Destroyalldreamers, etc. + Mains de Givre, Parallel Lines, Ghidrah
Websites: www.thisquietarmy.com - www.destroyalldreamers.com
Listen to "Melted Lead on Ashen Fields"
Listen to "The Hierarchy of Angels"

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

Eric – One of those cheap Yamaha guitars that comes packaged with the little Peavey amp. It had this cheap sounding, dirty buzzing through multiple delays & cheap distortions. It was actually used for many early Destroyalldreamers shows & on some tracks off our first album “A Coeur Léger Sommeil Sanglant.” I loaned it to a girl a couple of years ago, & I don’t think I’ll ever get it back… oh well.

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

Eric – Current practice but typical enough ever-changing, ever-evolving set-up:
Fender Jaguar > Baja Tech Custom DaMOAF > Boss Pitchshifter/Delay x2 > Ibanez Delay/Echo > EHX Small Stone > Boss Tremolo/Pan > EHX MMwH > Line6 DL-4 > Digitech PDS 20/20 /  Digitech Jamman > Alesis Microverb / Digitech Digiverb > Behringer Mixer stereo-out > Traynor Bass Mate Amp + Traynor Guitar Mate Amp.
Pedals on the bench, but used, switched around or added to the set-up quite often: Digitech Space Station, EHX POG, Digitech digidelay, DOD Bi-Fet , DOD DFX94, Boss DD-20, Line6 Echopark, Line6 Verbzilla, ProCo RAT, Zoom Ultrafuzz, Digitech Turboflange, Alesis Philtre. Other units have been temporarily shelved.
I usually go straight out to the PA or a combination of Amp + PA for thisquietarmy gigs. For Destroyalldreamers, I used to play through an 80s Roland Jazz Chorus JC-120 but switched to a Traynor Mark III 2x12” tube combo from the late 70s. Other projects have different set-ups… but this is long enough.

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

Eric – Effects. Am I the only one saying this here?

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Eric – Traynor Bass Mate, it’s a 15” tube combo from the 70s, it looks & sounds great, perfect apartment & gig size.

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

Eric – Japanese Fender Jaguar Special HH (2002), it’s a darker red than the classic Fender candy apple red, matching headstock, Dragster humbucking pickups, fixed ajusto-matic bridge, chrome knobs. It’s sexy & it feels powerful. I like my other guitars as well, but for different & more delicate applications.

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

Eric – Might be like the same one I have, but with a Jaguar tremolo bar & maybe some kind of sustaining system… also with integrated Facebook & Twitter apps so I can update while I play gigs.

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

Eric – I actually like to play with all the parameters of all my pedals separately. Kevin Micka of Animal Hospital re-wired all of his pedals into this one big custom metal box with flip buttons & switches, just like a control board & only he knows what he’s doing. That would be a great signature pedal, if my pedalboard was fixed enough.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Eric – Yamaha acoustic guitar, Godin LG, Epiphone Dot, Fender Jaguar Special HH… & the one I’ll never see again.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Eric – On a guitar stand at home, or in their case.

QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?

Eric – A GPS to track it when you’re flying overseas or when it gets stolen.

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

Eric – Comfort, playability, & good looks.

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

Eric – When you think you’re getting a great deal… well, that much.

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

Eric – Stick with it.

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

Eric – Thoroughly enough on the internet, message boards, reviews, clips, second opinions. I mostly buy used & discontinued stuff that I can’t really try.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Eric – Yes, for various projects, but mostly because it’s essential to experiment & to find new different sounds, as my tracks are mostly based around specific sounds creating specific moods.

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

Eric – I change it around a lot.

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

Eric – Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Bass VI, Fender Jaguar Baritone, Ampeg & Sunn amps, all those new EHX pedals that keep coming out, some boutique pedals – but not really. I like to think I’m set for a while (as an attempt not to spend money)… I’d like to get a Fender Jazz bass though, & maybe another analog synth.

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

Eric – Good tone, good built.

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

Eric – Best: Line6 DL-4 delay/looper, DOD DFX94 delay, Digitech PDS20/20 multi-play & PDS8000 delay. Worst: My first distortion Boss Power Driver, that cheap tone sucking black Russian Big Muff & the Digitech PDS3000 reverb.

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

Eric – I like the discontinued Boss pedals, but I hate everything new they put out. I like old & new Digitech delays & looping devices. Most new EHX stuff have very interesting features that might be worth exploring. I like Fender guitars, Traynor, Ampeg, & Sunn amps… or any old tube amps. I used to have a Roland JC-120, it was great for a while, but then I sold it because I got sick of it. Never been a fan of Fender amps either.

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

Eric – Open chord, maybe an E or Am if I’m in standard.

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

Eric – 22.

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

Eric – 99.

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

Eric – Something about strumming to make strings & waves vibrate rather than pounding rhythmically, pressing keys or blowing into something just seems right & feels better.

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

Eric – It’s a good instrument that you can learn on your own & not get too bored or frustrated with, I think.

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

Eric – Both, constantly.

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

Eric – Neil Halstead of Slowdive, Scott Cortez of lovesliescrushing, those guitar players in Mogwai &/or Godspeed.

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

Eric – Silly.

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

Eric – Dropped it by accident. Scratches & dings.

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

Eric – I run an infinite loop through my pedals, & then I play with my pedals instead.

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

Eric – Sometimes I don’t play for weeks. Whenever I feel like it.

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

Eric – Jim Dunlop .88mm or 1.00mm. It works.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Eric – D’Addario 11-49.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Eric – When I feel like my playing & my sound is shit, & then I realize they don’t feel nor sound as good as they used to.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Eric – Not often. Except when we played that song “The Sky Was Glorious For a Moment” (by Destroyalldreamers) --- they’d break one out of two, & would involve bleeding fingers.

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

Eric – Strumming. It affects my style in the sense that I play slow anyway which is fine because I like to sustain notes & chords through my pedals.

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

Eric – Guitar tech, because I don’t really know much about setting up or if I’m doing it right.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Eric – Standard & Open C or some derivative of it… Not sure. Starts with CGC anyway.

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

Eric – I don’t write my ideas down, I record them. Then I re-listen & if I can’t play them again, I give up & dub the recording as an improv. If I can play them, I practice until I remember it enough so that I won’t forget for a while, until it’s been too long & I have to figure it out again.

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

Eric – Low-Average. It should probably be higher because it’s bad for my posture & I have no more money to go to the chiropractor.

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

Eric – When trying to be creative going back to playing the same kind of riffs, sounds, structures, & time signatures – not being able to break a certain pattern.

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

Eric – Drums. Rhythm helps a lot. Playing in a band is a great way to improve.

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

Eric – I don’t know. Shredding?  Finger-picking. Or anything slightly complicated.

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

Eric – Play two guitars at the same time? No, wait… I sort of do already.

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

Eric – Trick people into believing that I actually know how to play guitar.

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

Eric – Play someone else’s song.

QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?

Eric – Ebow!

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

Eric – Nope.

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

Eric – I’ve never had a guitar teacher, how should I know? I could teach about effect pedals.

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

Eric – Something in the lines of playing loads of drone-y textures through a first looping device feeding into other parallel looping devices, & then finding the intrinsic melodies throughout that thick, noisy wall of sounds.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Eric – Kevin Shields loves it. ‘Nuff said. I haven’t spent enough time with one actually.

QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?

Eric – Always maxed.

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

Eric – One has long black curly hair & a funny top hat, the other usually just looks plain regular because I can’t remember what he looks like.

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

Eric – No. However, you could just get rid of the rest of the band & play solo.

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

Eric – Don’t care enough about other people’s guitars, really.

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

Eric – That guy over there!

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Eric – Each album is always an exploration in sounds, themes, textures & feelings. So it’s pretty subjective. But this is an interview & if it’s not going to be used to promote any new releases, it’d be a shame. So, get the latest thisquietarmy album! It’s called Aftermath.

QRD – Anything else?

Eric – Yes, but… 58 questions is long enough! Thx.