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QRD #53 - Guitarist Interview Series V
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Guitarist Interviews:
Jason Handelsman
Andras Fekete 
Phil Mitchell
Jessica Bailiff 
Jason Lamoreaux
Ben Weyerhaeuser
Greg & Kyrsten Magnuson
Brandon Helms
Matt Guess 
Rachel Staggs
Jun Minowa 
Michael Cosma 
Cheryl Hall
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Guitarist Interview with Jun Minowa of Yawning & Gargle
March 2011
Jun Minowa
Name: Jun Minowa
Bands: Yawning / Gargle
Websites: yawningweb.infogargle.or.tvfacebook.com/pages/Yawningflutteryrecords.com

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

Jun – My first guitar was a Telecaster. I got it from a friend of mine for 5,000JPY (about 60USD). Though its condition was not so good, it was enough to begin with. I still have it in my room.

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

Jun – Guitar -> effects (Boss BD-2 -> Danelectro Fab Tone -> Volume Pedal -> Boss DD-7 -> Line6 Echo Park -> Boss RC-20XL -> Boss RV-5) -> amplifier.

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

Jun – Effects probably. It’s difficult to play any shows without them in both Yawning & Gargle.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Jun – We usually use venue’s or rehearsal studio’s amps. So it’s up to the venue or studio, but if they have Marshall JCM-900, I choose it because I think it makes a natural sound. Recently I’m thinking of switching to a Fender Twin Reverb since I like its clean tone.

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

Jun – Fender Japanese Jazzmaster. I liked its clean tone. I started using it because some of my favorite guitarists used Jazzmasters. Then I realized it made a slightly different sound from what the US model made. I couldn’t afford it at that time anyway.

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

Jun – It would be just like the classical Stratocaster or Jazzmaster. There are still some guitars I would like to try.

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

Jun – Sometimes I imagine how it would be if the looper & the delay pedal had other useful features for tempo setting. I hope to find better pedals.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Jun – I’ve got 3 electric guitars & 1 acoustic guitar.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Jun – My main guitar is leaning against the wall & the rest are stored in guitar cases.

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

Jun – Lighter, thinner, stronger one. & with removable wheels is better.

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

Jun – Pickups, fretboard, colors, etc. But the first thing is to see if I can afford it or not.

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

Jun – It’s hard to imagine, but like a $2,000 a guitar is expensive, I think.

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

Jun – As for my Jazzmaster, I replaced its bridge with another type of one.

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

Jun – At first I usually ask some friends & I do a search on the Internet, then I try at a musical instrument store.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Jun – Not so often recently. I used to change pedals often.

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

Jun – Basically I am after one particular guitar tone.

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

Jun – I’d like to try a vintage ‘62 Jazzmaster.

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

Jun – I just suggest a simple, light, & easy to use one.

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

Jun – Once I purchased a guitar on impulse & sold it a few months later. That was my worst purchase. I can’t even remember its model, but it was a red guitar.

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

Jun – I don’t have any particularly favorite brands at the moment.

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

Jun – Warming up. Then I play some of my own songs.

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

Jun – I think it was 16 or 17.

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

Jun – I’m not a good guitarist yet. I still need to improve.

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

Jun – Because it is one of the best ways for me to express various feelings directly.

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

Jun – People should choose an instrument that attracts them.

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

Jun – It’s my ally all the time.

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

Jun – Taka & Yoda of Mono, Kevin Shields, Kurt Cobain, Munaf & Mark of Explosions in the Sky, Thurston Moore…. There are a lot more.

QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming their guitar)?

Jun – It’s understandable, but I’ve never done it before.

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

Jun – I broke 3 guitar necks over the years.

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

Jun – When my fingers couldn’t move like I used to a few years ago due to my illness, I just tried to play one note in guitar picking as fast as I could. It was my rehab.

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

Jun – Sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes 3 hours…. I need to practice piano as well so my time for guitar is getting shortened spontaneously. I wish I could play longer.

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

Jun – I usually use Dunlop Tortex .60mm picks because of its usability & cost performance.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Jun – 10-46 strings. They fit me.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Jun – Before every show or recording.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Jun – I don’t break strings very often.

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

Jun – I can’t pick up one hand. I never thought of it.

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

Jun – I usually try to set-up my guitar by myself, but when it has a serious problem I bring it to a guitar tech.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Jun – I use only normal tuning. At Gargle’s shows we play a whole set almost without a break so it works.

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

Jun – If I have any ideas while I play guitar, I usually record them. When I play with string players, I write scores for them.

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

Jun – I think I’m hanging it at normal level.

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

Jun – I can’t help but shake my body while I’m playing. I wish I could stop.

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

Jun – Drums, even though neither Gargle or Yawning has a drummer.

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

Jun – Classic guitar.

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

Jun – When I find a perfect guitar sound in arrangements, it will be a completed goal.

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

Jun – Well, I don’t remember, but I don’t use a lot of tricks.

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

Jun – I use an ebow on some songs. I really like it. I’m also interested in a real bow.

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

Jun – I’d like to improve my finger picking more.

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

Jun – I’ve never taken any guitar lessons.

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

Jun – I don’t know much about how a guitar lesson goes, but I would say sooner or later people would find their own styles, so have fun & keep playing.

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

Jun – I don’t think there is anyone who wants to emulate my style.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Jun – They’re good, I think.

QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?

Jun – I am just thinking about it. The tone knob of my guitar makes noise recently!

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

Jun – I don’t see a big difference between them. I just listen to music as music totally.

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

Jun – No, if a band is not good as music, it doesn’t make sense.

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

Jun – I’ve never wanted to own any famous musician’s guitar.

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

Jun – As far as I can recall at the moment, Tom Morello is still currently one of the most innovative guitarists.

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Jun – At shows.

QRD – Anything else?

Jun – Thank you so much for reading! Gargle’s planning a short tour in France & Spain in autumn besides making albums of Yawning & Gargle. When we can make it happen, for those who are in the areas nearby, we’re really looking forward to seeing you.