with Francesco “fuzz” Brasini
Listen to “Bad Guitar Reputation”
Name: Francesco “fuzz” Brasini
Bands: the same
Websites: soundcloud.com/francescobrasini, francescofuzzbrasini.bandcamp.com
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Francesco – My first guitar was a copy of a 1970s Gibson SG made in Japan, bought from a classmate for 20 € or so. Only the first part of the neck was functioning (just until the 5th fret). In that period, approximately 1984, I started playing in a psychobilly/garage trio, so it was perfect even if part of it wasn’t functioning. Than I received a Tone Bender Vox Fuzz as a birthday present, & everything started….
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Francesco – My set-up solo consists of four amplifiers that, added to each other, create the frequency range that I need: a 1969 Marshall JTM 50 “small head” (head & 4x12” Greenback Celestion cab.), a Kustom amp (1970 c.a.) 4x10” JBL speakers, a Fender Bassman 100 “silverface”(1973 c.a.) 4 x12” Oxford speakers, & an Ampeg B15 Portaflex (1965 c.a.). Stompboxes: 2880 E.H. Looper Recorder, Eventide Pitch Factor, E.H 16 sec Digital Delay, E.H. Frequency Analyzer, E.H POG, E.H. Memory Man Deluxe, Roland Re 301 Space Echo, E.H Graphic Fuzz, E.H Electric Mistress, E.H. Pulsar Tremolo, J.G. Electro Fuzz, J.G. Electro Boost, MXR 10 Band EQ, Vox Wah-wah (from 1960), double E-bow.
In duo with Luciano Maggiore I use: direct line to the P.A., Digitech Whammy, Boss DD2 Digital Delay, Boss Metal Zone, T.C. Electronic Phaser, Dunlop Wah-wah, Boss re-201 Space Echo, early Boss Chorus Ensemble (sounds good, nice pedal!), & E-bow.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Francesco – Ideas & hands!
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Francesco – My favourite amp is the Marshall JTM because it has beautiful attacks, you get soft sounds & then it is truly essential in regulations
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Francesco – My guitars are hand-built so the features are also very personal since the pickups are wound by hand. However, if I had to summarize, I would say that the sound is a mix between Gretsch Duo Jet, Fender Telecaster, & Burns guitars.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Francesco – I design my guitars, so they look like & have the features that I need (-;
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Francesco – I also built some stompboxes & the features are: full sound, high signal, & stout structure.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Francesco – I built 5 guitars & 2 basses, then I have a Vox Mark XII, a Roland GR 707 guitar synth & soon a Gretsch 6120.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Francesco – At home.
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Francesco – I built my cases in collaboration with a factory; hard & aesthetically similar to the guitars.
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Francesco – There are so many features… Let’s say that, when you play it, it says if you have to buy it!
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Francesco – From $1 to $ 1,000,000.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Francesco – My guitars are already customized… the others have got their own “personality” & I don’t need to modify them.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Francesco – I usually check videos on the internet to understand the features because I rarely find what I am looking for in shops.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Francesco – It depends on the situation; but yes, quite often.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Francesco – I usually look for my tone even if I change my instruments.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Francesco – I would say that I already have what I need, but sometimes I buy other pedals.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Francesco – This really depends on what the person is looking for. Perhaps the neck is the most fundamental element to be taken in consideration.
QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?
Francesco – The best purchase was probably the Marshall JMP amp.
QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?
Francesco – Maybe Gretsch guitars, Divided by 13 amps & Electro Harmonix pedals are some of the best brands I have tried.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Francesco – E major flat!
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Francesco – I was 17.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Francesco – Around 20.
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Francesco – I also play bass & keyboards, so I wouldn’t say a guitar fits me more than other instruments.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Francesco – I don’t think so. It is so subjective… now there are tons of possibilities to play with instruments or objects.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Francesco – Of course an ally.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Francesco – Link Wray, Bryan Gregory from Cramps & many garage punk guitarists from the 1960s.
QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming their guitar)?
Francesco – Someone develops an “affectionate” relationship with his instrument. It is not my case, but I don’t think it’s stupid. It really depends on the guitarist’s personality.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Francesco – Broken headstock during a tour: the guitar fell from the stand, a classic accident.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Francesco – ?
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Francesco – It really depends, I play the instrument when I come up with some ideas.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Francesco – Ceramic. It’s the best for me, bright & acid sound.
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Francesco – 011-50 metal steel, best sustain & bright sound.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Francesco – Rarely.
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Francesco – Rarely.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Francesco – Strumming hand is much better for the things I do.
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Francesco – I set it up myself.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Francesco – C 256hz, increase in sound harmonics.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Francesco – I don’t use a conventional notation system. When I have some ideas I draw lines on the staff with some references to be used on octaves & pauses to represent the sound.
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Francesco – Very low at the beginning, now I play seated.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Francesco – None.
QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?
Francesco – Bass, of course, & for my taste, Farfisa organ!!!
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Francesco – Hawaiian.
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Francesco – I don’t know.
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Francesco – Using four amplifiers with different frequencies.
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Francesco – Ebow & slide.
QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?
Francesco – None.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Francesco – I learned by listening to vinyl records & cassettes.
QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?
Francesco – The first thing I would do is explaining how to use an amplifier & how to adjust the sound.
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Francesco – I do not know. At first, I myself tried to emulate the sound of the guitar players that interested me, then I found my way.
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?
Francesco – The tremolo systems I’ve always liked: amplifier, effect pedal, the lever Bigsby
QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?
Francesco – I always play with the open signal, I never use the tone control on the guitar.
QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?
Francesco – Lead guitarists like to be the protagonists of the scene. (-:
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Francesco – I do not think that way; the sound of the band is composed by all the elements.
QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?
Francesco – I don’t know.
QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?
Francesco – Taku Sugimoto, his minimalist approach is amazing. I think his idea of music is based on time & pauses, & the guitar is only a means to express it.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Francesco – On my websites.