Interview with Yair Yona
Bands: Yair Yona
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Yair – The first one was a bass guitar, G&L L-1500. I sold it three years later to buy a Fender Jazz Bass, which later I traded for my beautiful heartbreaking Rickenbacker.
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Yair – I play acoustic guitars now, so I often use a mic to amplify the guitar, but if I’m in need to plug it, I go through the Boss tuner, Electro-Harmonix Reverb, ‘Levana’ EQ booster & the Line6 delay pedal.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig – guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Yair – The guitar, this is where it all starts.
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Yair – My six string acoustic guitar En. En Guitars is a new manufacturer & my guitar was the second guitar he ever built.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Yair – I guess it will look like a Martin David Crosby signature & sound like a Lowden.
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Yair – It will be an amazing pre-amp who can ditch the annoying mid-high of the strings.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Yair – Five.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Yair – I listened to my great great mentor Michael Jackson – & kept it in the closet?
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Yair – A more comfortable grip for the hard cases, it usually hurts badly after two minutes.
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Yair – Sound & comfort, the looks isn’t interesting.
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Yair – What’s a “good guitar”?
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Yair – I usually stick with what I got for couple of years.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Yair – Just play a couple of my songs. If it sounds better than the album – the guitar is mine.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Yair – Nope.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Yair – I prefer the warm & “woody” sound, but I’m open.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Yair – I would love to put my hands on an electric Rickenbacker slide guitar.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Yair – I think it’s very personal. I think the answer to that will be given by that person, after one year of playing & learning what to expect from a guitar.
QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?
Yair – I must say that all my purchases were great, it was years later I needed a better guitar.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Yair – Some sort of a chord melody progression.
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Yair – 15.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Yair – 27.
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Yair – I don’t. I still want to be a drummer, pianist, & a sax player.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Yair – I think, as much as it is a cliché, that it chooses you. Once you pick it up, you know if you are hooked by it or you should search for something else (piano?).
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Yair – So many. I think mostly it’ll be Bert Jansch, John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Pierre Bensusan.
QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming their guitar)?
Yair – Natural. It’s a part of you, like a third hand.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Yair – Banged my Rickenbacker bass to the wall while I was over-excited on a VERY small stage.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Yair – Reading interviews like this, to get some ideas from other players.
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Yair – Lately I am hardly touching the guitar; of course I’d prefer it to be a 24/7 thing, but that thing called “life” is stuck in the middle.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Yair – A Dunlop thumb pick, the big ones. The most comfortable of them all.
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Yair – 0.11 – it’s a combination of strong strings that won’t break easily as a result of my often changing tunings, but still light enough to play on.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Yair – Once every three weeks
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Yair – Once a week.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Yair – My strumming hand, it turns on my flamenco passion. Sadly, I’m not a good flamenco player.
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Yair – I don’t trust myself enough to fix the guitars, so I’m using the services of the Levana studio.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Yair – Open D, Open G, Open C, DADGAD & other strange ones. I just search for an interesting harmony.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Yair – I don’t write them down, I take the video camera & shoot myself playing, the best way to understand how I played a part.
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Yair – I’m sitting.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Yair – The fact I’m impatient.
QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?
Yair – Piano, THE instrument.
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Yair – I don’t think I “can’t” – I just think I don’t practice enough – chord melody.
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Yair – Play like Rory Gallagher!
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Yair – Clean the guitar with lemon juice – does great things.
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Yair – The partial capo – I love it, everything sounds so exotic on it!
QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?
Yair – Flamenco.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Yair – I took just a few, started with modes but didn’t continue.
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Yair – Listen to the thousands of records I’ve heard over the years. It all stars there.
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?
Yair – I respect it & it respects me.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Yair – NO.
QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?
Yair – Richard Thomson’s Louden – have you heard it? That’s why.
QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?
Yair – James Blackshaw & Glenn Jones, these two are in a constant search.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Yair – On my first album Remember.
QRD – Anything else?
Yair – I’m tired.