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QRD #55 - Guitarist Interview Series VI
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Guitarist Interviews with:
Mason Jones
Chris Wade
Corbie Hill
Davy Curci
Matt Northrup
Xavier Dubois
Tony Sagger
Rich Bennett
Jonas Munk
Matthew Eyles
Francesco “fuzz” Brasini
Shawn Lawson Freeman
Jacques LaMore
Curran Faris
Sean Fewell
Ryan Scally
Shawn Steven
Sophia Johnson
Mick Barr
Joshua Heinrich
Jim Walker
Jacob Peck
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Chris Wade
Guitarist Interview with Chris Wade
June 2012
Chris Wade
Listen to Orlock “Spanking”
Listen to hose.got.cable “Chevy Chase - Mother Fucker”
Listen to The Wades “Dear Sweet November”

Name: Chris Wade
Bands: Orlock, hose.got.cable, Groove., The Wades
Websites: chrswd.com

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

Chris – My first guitar was when I was very young, white plastic... I’m sure I broke it.  I eventually got a wooden acoustic guitar.  My first electric guitar was a Harmony from Sears.  It was a terrific copy of a Gibson. “The Paul” which was a stripped down Les Paul, really.  It eventually fell apart.

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

Chris – Right now I am not using an electric set up for anything, but over the years I have used Marshall or Sunn heads with 4X12 cabs (2 for a while in Orlock).  I have not used many effects other than simple distortion such as a DS-1, however I played with a phaser pedal on tour once.  Guitars have come & gone, but the best have been SGs of varying quality or any nice double-cutaway with humbuckers.

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

Chris – My guitar has no name or serial number anywhere on it.  It is an acoustic guitar of mediocre quality.  It buzzes, but it booms.

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

Chris – A signature electric would be a double cutaway version of the aforementioned “The Paul” with various subtle differences & modifications - binding on the neck, neck-thru body construction, large black pick guard, single humbucker, kill-switch & volume knob, no tone knob.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

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

Chris – I suppose it would be a distortion pedal.  It would have as few knobs as possible, maybe even just one.

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

Chris – Free guitars included with purchase.

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

Chris – Value.

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

Chris – They are like anything else; you can spend as much money on one as you want & they are of varying quality.  I’ve never gotten too attached to any that I’ve had.  I suppose if I had a lot of money I could see spending $1000 on a guitar.  But I’ve played nice $300 guitars & I’ve definitely had my share of $100 guitars & that is just rolling the dice.

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

Chris – I usually don’t ever string the little E string... usually remove that tuning key, even.  Sometimes I rip out the neck position humbucker; that little chamber there is nice for sound.  

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

Chris – I really just come across stuff.

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

Chris – I have always preferred raw sounding, distorted guitar & lo-fi acoustic.

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

Chris – I’ve always wanted an Orange amp to play with & my dream guitar is the Ibanez Iceman.

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

Chris – I think most guitars have too many settings... as you would guess guitars like Mustangs & Jazzmasters look like nightmares to me.  I think the best thing that any guitar could use if it didn’t already have it was a neck thru body construction or at least a set neck.  & tuning keys always suck on cheaper guitars.

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

Chris – The best was an SG at Guitar Center for $650 that had a bent tuning key that I spotted.  So I got it for $400.  The worst was a Mexican Fender Telecaster that was literally falling apart by the end of my first show with it.

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

Chris – I love Gibson & Marshall but I’ve not been picky over the years.  In spite of having that Harmony when I was a kid that fell apart, I had a Harmony in the early 90’s that was indestructible & eventually was modified several times over.  What it comes down to is that the equipment that you have is what you have.  It’s what you do with it that counts.

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

Chris – Some half-assed blues lick probably.

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

Chris – 5, but you wouldn’t know it.

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

Chris – 24.

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

Chris – It doesn’t.  I am better at & enjoy bass guitar tons more, but guitar is what I have the most live & recording experience with.

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

Chris – I don’t think it matters.  

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

Chris – I see it as a weapon.

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

Chris – Ace Frehley (KISS), Ian MacKaye (Fugazi), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Walter Schreifels (Quicksand), Gut Rochelle (Groove., The Needles).

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

Chris – Yeah, kinda silly.

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

Chris – Smashing a few of them on purpose.

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

Chris – I try to make sense of the music in my head constantly, if that counts.

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

Chris – Less than 10, 40+

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

Chris – Medium Fender usually works the best.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Chris – Medium, nothing special.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Chris – Depends on the application.  Not very often.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Chris – All the time on electric guitars.

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

Chris – My strumming hand, because even though I suck at guitar I have great rhythm.

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

Chris – I have had guitars set up, but most of the time I just do it myself.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Chris – Right now I am playing in open G a lot because it’s super easy & fun.  I have played in standard & drop D for most of the punk/metal stuff.

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

Chris – No.

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

Chris – As low as I can usually.

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

Chris – Sucking.

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

Chris – Bass guitar, absolutely.

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

Chris – Leads/solos I guess.

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

Chris – Slide guitar.

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

Chris – Some finger-picking stuff.

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

Chris – Slide.

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

Chris – Again, slide & solos/leads.

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

Chris – For 2 weeks when I was a kid.  Nothing that I can remember.

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

Chris – Stylistic stuff... punk finesse.  Noise/feedback/neck bending & stuff like that.

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

Chris – I guess what I’m best at is extreme dynamics, from noisy/chaotic to quiet riffing & stuff.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Chris – Meh.

QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?

Chris – Never.  Rip that thing out.

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

Chris – Rhythm guitar players are bassists playing guitars, lead guitar players are guitarists.

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

Chris – Usually, no.

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

Chris – Angus Young because I like SGs.

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

Chris – Kurt Ballou from Converge is without a doubt the most creative & innovative guitarist out there.  His tunings are secret, his riffs are sick & he has mastered his sound both live & in the studio as Converge’s engineer/producer.   

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Chris – Search for hose.got.cable on YouTube.  Go to my ReverbNation page & listen to Orlock.

QRD – Anything else?

Chris – Nope. Thanks.

Other QRD interviews with Chris Wade:
Couples band interview with Chris Wade of The Wades (March 2008)
Musician dad interview with Chris Wade of The Wades (May 2007)