with Matt Northrup
Name: Matt Northrup
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Matt – It was an old Danelectro. One of the ones with sweet lipstick pickups.
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Matt – It’s guitar into a bunch of effects into a bass rig & a guitar amp.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Matt – I have an RC-2 that means a lot to me.
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Matt – Peavey Classic 50. Sick tweed covering, bro.
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Matt – Fender Cyclone. Sick pickup switching action, bro.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Matt – Just take the J. Mascis signature & put my name on it.
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Matt – It would be a Digitech Bass Synth Wah with an expression pedal out.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Matt – Just the one.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Matt – I have one of those cases like in Wayne’s World.
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Matt – Humbuckers.
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Matt – Humbuckers.
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Matt – About six humbuckers & a nickel.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Matt – I put a new humbucker in my guitar, but I only use the neck pickup. I should have stuck with what I had.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Matt – If it’s got a blue led I’m all over it.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Matt – No.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Matt – Don’t touch my EQ, bro.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Matt – That J. Mascis guitar is sick.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Matt – Floyd Rose.
QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?
Matt – Every time I go into Guitar Center I leave with another Yngwie instructional DVD.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Matt – “CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON”!
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Matt – 11.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Matt – 11.
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Matt – This is a really thorough interview.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Matt – Tuba was actually my first instrument (this is the truth). I would suggest starting with that.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Matt – It is important.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Matt – Satriani. I surf with the alien.
QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming their guitar)?
Matt – Totally natural. Matt Jr. is like a son to me.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Matt – Never done anything to physically damage a guitar. Emotions are a whole different ballgame.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Matt – Mental exercises.
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Matt – 8-10hrs a week, but I would like to be playing for 8-9hrs a week.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Matt – Ruffles potato chips. No trans-fat.
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Matt – 14s. I have the fattest tone, bro.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Matt – Every day.
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Matt – Once a year.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Matt – Ha! Trick question, huh?
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Matt – I prefer to let my guitar’s neck slowly bend until it produces sounds that are completely unique.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Matt – Standard tuning. If it’s good enough for Satch it’s good enough for me.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Matt – Ipad
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Matt – Waist level. I’m a casual dude.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Matt – I exaggerate the twist in my body when driving. I’m slicing & hooking like crazy!
QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?
Matt – Texas instrument.
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Matt – Slap bass.
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Matt – I only have one humbucker in my guitar. I wish I had at least two.
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Matt – When I was 11 my dad taught me how to make cat noises with my guitar. Meow!
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Matt – Humidifier
QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?
Matt – I thought I already said slap bass.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Matt – Yngwie instructional DVD. Already covered this one too.
QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?
Matt – Parallel parking, 3-point turns, how to correctly shotgun a beer.
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Matt – More humbuckers.
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?
Matt – More like trem-oh-no!
QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?
Matt – Once a week.
QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?
Matt – One has no respect for my feelings.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Matt – Yes (I’m a big Dave Matthews fan).
QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?
Matt – J. Mascis, purple sparkle guitar.
QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?
Matt – Two words: Joe Satriani.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Matt – The bass section of your local Guitar Center.
QRD – Anything else?
Matt – No, this was quite thorough!