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QRD #55 - Guitarist Interview Series VI
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about this issue
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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Matt Northrup
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Matt Northrup
Guitarist Interview with Matt Northrup
June 2012
Matt Northrup
Name: Matt Northrup
Websites: gnrthrp.tumblr.com

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?


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!