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QRD #42 - Guitarist Series
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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
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Guitarist Interview with Evgeny Zheyda 
July 2010

Name: Evgeny Zheyda
Bands: Thorn1
Websites: myspace.com/thorn1silpheone - last.fm/music/Thorn1 - www.silbermedia.com/thorn1
Listen to "Fall in Love"
Listen to "Snow is Abstract"

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

Evgeny – My first guitar was a Stella (the Soviet copy of the Fender Jaguar). I was pleased with her, especially for the many sound modes. But after some time it was stolen.

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

Evgeny – Now I usually use Fender Stratocaster with pedals Boss DS-1 to DigiTech Digital Delay. Also I like the sound of Marshall & Vox amps.

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

Evgeny – The most important things are effects; in particular, rich & transparent delay.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Evgeny – Most often I use a VOX-AD50VT amp.

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

Evgeny – I like the sound of a Fender Stratocaster for crystalline highs & rough mids. So I try to play on those guitars.

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

Evgeny – Among the priorities I would call the flexible control tone sound, switching between pickups, 24 frets, body design (like a Fender Jaguar) &, most importantly, a good tune. I may not refuse to have a tremolo.

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

Evgeny – I’d love to have a set of compressors-reverb with the ability to delete the original signal. Yet I could not find the effect that meets my requirements.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Evgeny – I have one electric guitar, Fender Stratocaster, which I use mainly for concerts; & a workmen acoustic guitar with increased scale length & the nylon strings for home rehearsal.

QRD – How & where do you get your guitars?

Evgeny – Oh, acoustic guitar given to me by parents on my thirteenth birthday, & the electric I bought in a store network A&T Trade close to home.

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

Evgeny – First & foremost is a sense of comfort. If I hold the instrument in the hands & my hands feel free, but there is no tension in the muscles, then I start to try the sound. Good sustain, the ratio noise/signal & amplitude attenuation are important points. But first of all I am interested in the tonal characteristics & the resonance of music in the wood.

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

Evgeny – I think a good guitar, which I would be satisfied with, worth about $1500. Maybe less, because for my music is more meaningful to use post-processing & effects than the presence of high-quality original signal.

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

Evgeny – I just use what is available.

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

Evgeny – I explore the extreme possibilities of the equipment. From the very quiet sound, minimum effect to the provisions of “all turn right.” If the sound at the maximum effect strikes me as extreme, & the sound is distorted, but readable, then I think about buying, because between the minimum & maximum is a lot of variations.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Evgeny – Yes, I quite often change the settings. Sometimes it happens during the execution of a single composition to create a dynamic effect.

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

Evgeny – Most likely I can change the tone, but in the post-processing. On the guitar I fix one position tone for each song. Exception is the volume knob.

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

Evgeny – I dream of a firm Fender Jaguar, multiple Boss RE-20, chorus, & EQ from the same manufacturer. Marshall combo or stack would be a good gift as well.

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

Evgeny – I think, first of all it must be suitable timbre characteristics & convenience in sound managing.

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

Evgeny – The best buy was the pedal Boss DS-1. Also a good solution was Fender strings, which for some reason I had not enjoyed. I like when the strings are weakened (for example, I use 0.8 strings for E-tune).

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

Evgeny – I love Boss/Roland effects & synthesizers. They have always been quality & marching in step with the times. Fender guitars have always been desirable for me too. Probably because it’s not worth doubting for their quality & timbre characteristics are completely satisfying me. & the ideal concert sound amplifiers are Marshall. The Jackson & DOD production is not too good for me.

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

Evgeny – More often it’s just two chords - Em7 & Am7. Of course, I use non-standard fingerings. Then I play something like Dead Leaves Rising’s “Each Day Is Like Winter.”

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

Evgeny – Twelve years old.

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

Evgeny – At 19, I think.

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

Evgeny – Its timbre & capabilities are suited to me. In addition, the guitar is a free instrument. Otherwise we would not have seen so many guitar styles.

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

Evgeny – There is nothing wrong that people start with a guitar, as often happens. The main thing - not a tool, but an understanding of harmony, melody, & your own vision.

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

Evgeny – Of course only as an ally.

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

Evgeny – Hmm ... At different times there were different people, but none of them had a decisive impact on my style. Jon DeRosa, John Frusciante, Robert Smith, Rene Rutten (of The Gathering), & others - the main authority for me.

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

Evgeny – It is worth remembering compare the guitar with the girl to understand this. I do not support such changes, but I do not see them any harm.

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

Evgeny – Oh, when I was about 14 years old & I only started playing in a post-punk band. During the execution of one of the emotional songs with my lead vocal, I blew the neck of my guitar on the wall. Then I was not too upset. Much more, I was upset when we smashed the rarity Soviet analog synth Rhythm-2...

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

Evgeny – I’m just playing.

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

Evgeny – I have never considered it a duty for me. Depends on my mood.

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

Evgeny – Often 0.7 mm.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Evgeny – Mostly lights, if it does not apply to an acoustic guitar. For acoustics, I use nylon strings.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Evgeny – When I feel that their sound is no good.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Evgeny – Recently - never.

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

Evgeny – I think my fretting hand. Because of this, I like to invent the chords with complex fingerings for my compositions.

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

Evgeny – All I am doing myself. My work can be called DIY.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Evgeny – Standard system, sometimes a semitone lower. & sometimes the deviations like D#-B-G-D-A-E.

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

Evgeny – I write down the names of chords. Sometimes I draw a picture. Sometimes I write a draft of the outline FL melodies.

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

Evgeny – So that it covered my hips :)

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

Evgeny – Thoughtful & sometimes excessive desire for improvisation.

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

Evgeny – Playing on any polyphonic instrument.

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

Evgeny – Possibly artificial flageolets.

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

Evgeny – Nothing.

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

Evgeny – Aarktica’s “Nostalgia = Distortion.”

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

Evgeny – Don’t know. If I have something missing, I’m learning this. Now I like everything.

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

Evgeny – Never.

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

Evgeny – Primarily - not a technique, but musical thinking. If the teacher will introduce you to this thinking, it is a real master.

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

Evgeny – Do not learn how to play, but only think of interesting harmonies.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Evgeny – They are all good, I think. Let them enjoy those who are interested.

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

Evgeny – No difference, it is only in their heads. Perhaps, someone covers the inability to play the melody.

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

Evgeny – Yes, but I’m hardly going to listen to this band a lot.

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

Evgeny – Perhaps one of the vintage Fender Stratocasters of John Frusciante.

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

Evgeny – Sometimes I think that they are John Frusciante & Omar Rodriguez-Lopez.

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Evgeny – On my upcoming album So Far As Fast. Rock fans can think of & search for records of the Russian rock-group “Partisans” till the year 2008.

QRD – Anything else?

Evgeny – Be yourself & sort things out at last, what you truly want to do. & be kind to the world. This is the only way. Everyone can everything.