Interview with Travis Kotler of Pineal Ventana
Name: Travis Kotler
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Travis – Japanese Strat copy. Dark blue. I don’t remember.
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Travis – Just an acoustic Guild jumbo & a sitar I brought back from India. All other musical instruments have been donated to the divorce industry of Watauga County, North Carolina.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig – guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Travis – Guitar.
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Travis – Early 80s Peavey Deuces & Maces. Very cheap, very durable, very loud. Big sound.
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Travis – Guild JF-30. Easier to get around when living out of a car.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Travis – Part Rickenbacker 330, part Browning M2 .50 caliber machine gun.
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Travis – Compressor/Limiter/Sampler. Honesty, logic, & the sound of about fifty metal chairs gently knocking on the concrete in front of the rooms on the hill on a sunny day.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Travis – One.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Travis – Cases at the foot of the bed.
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Travis – Sane women.
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Travis – If anyone in the store would notice if I stole it.
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Travis – See above.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Travis – Not really. Put a Bigsby on a Gibson 135 once.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Travis – Not at all. Instant attraction is everything.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Travis – Yes. It is necessary to help prevent infection or hepatitis.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Travis – When I lived in cities I needed to create space with a guitar. I have a lot of space, now, so acoustic is best.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Travis – None.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Travis – Sodium Pentathol.
QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?
Travis – No regrets. I have loved them all.
QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?
Travis – All sorts. Variety.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Travis – Beer pong.
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Travis – 13.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Travis – Today.
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Travis – I don’t.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Travis – No.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Travis – Both.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Travis – Johnny Smith, Ida Presti, Steve
Stevens, Keith Levene, Pepe Romero, John McGeoch, Jimmy Page, Vilayat Khan,
William Reid, & this guy:
QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming their guitar)?
Travis – I don’t care.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Travis – Rockfight. Pine Canyon Campsite #2. February, 2009. Gianninni acoustic (RIP).
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Travis – Scales, note reading, moderate drinking.
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Travis – Not enough. More.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Travis – All sorts. Variety.
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Travis – Heavy. Better for alternate tunings.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Travis – Not often.
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Travis – Lots.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Travis – That is very, very personal!
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Travis – Myself. The nearest guitar tech is about 100 miles north.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Travis – DADGAD - when I’m feeling pretty. CGDGCD - when I’m feeling shy. DADGBE - when I’m feeling NASTY. BEADF#B - when I want to cry.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Travis – I keep everything in my head, then forget all of it.
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Travis – Again, very personal.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Travis – Vomiting.
QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?
Travis – Flute.
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Travis – The kind that makes me some money.
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Travis – See above. Also, world peace.
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Travis – Selling it for more than I paid for it.
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Travis – Wire coat hanger.
QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?
Travis – Plate tectonics.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Travis – Charles Williams taught me how to move my fingers & figure out how to play what I heard on record or tape. David Case taught me classical.
QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?
Travis – How to make your fingers bleed.
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Travis – Buy the first round.
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?
Travis – Bigsby. Lots of sounds on the other side of the bridge.
QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?
Travis – That’s what she said.
QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?
Travis – Hopefully I don’t.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Travis – I would ignore the rest of the band anyway.
QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?
Travis – This one: http://most-expensive.net/guitar-in-world
QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?
Travis – Me. Because I’ve got so much love to give.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Travis – Probably Paint Gap Hills # 4, sometime in September.
QRD – Anything else?
Travis – April 25th is Parental Alienation Awareness Day. Please take good care of my sons.
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