with Claudia Gregory of Feel No Other
Name: Claudia Gregory
Bands: Feel No Other, Claudia VS The Queen of Hearts, Exhaust The Fox
Listen to Feel No Other "Even the Blue"
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Claudia – My first guitar was some beat up piece of junk I found in someone’s closet. It had three strings (just enough to learn the riff from “Blue Monday”) & I actually still have it.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Claudia – Guitar, definitely. I normally don’t use any effects, but I’m a fan of big sounds. Not big as in heavy, but as in layers & layers of sound. I love when people can use effects as something like a full on orchestra that sounds like it came from outer space. It’s so cool to hear some new crazy sound every time you listen to a song.
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Claudia – My main guitar is this inexpensive guitar that I picked up at a pawnshop. I love it because it has this really interesting sound to it. It’s really imperfect & raw sounding. I also have a thing for red guitars & the built in tuner is a big plus.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Claudia – See, you shouldn’t have questions like this, because I could write an entire novel. I think my signature guitar would be an acoustic electric with a really unique body. It would have some kind of classic renaissance artwork painted on it, but the subject would be like... mermaids or Narnia or something. Something enchanting ha-ha-ha-ha. I’d like opal inlays shaped like the phases of the moon. Shall I continue...?
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Claudia – I really like a lot of reverb, so maybe a mixture of some reverb, chorus, delay. I like a little distortion thrown in. Just a little bit to make it sound raw. Actually, it would be cool if I had a pedal that just created a cathedral around me. Ha-ha. Too much?
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Claudia – Five. Two electric, two acoustic, one acoustic-electric.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Claudia – All over the house so my cat can knock them over
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Claudia – Wheels & an expandable handle like a suitcase.
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Claudia – I really just want something that fits who I am. I’m not all about buying super expensive guitars. I think when it comes down to it, you can make any guitar sound good if you put your heart into what you’re doing. I guess if I pick it up & it just fits my personality & my message than it’s perfect.
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Claudia – I think it really depends on the person & what they’re looking for.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Claudia – I like customization. I love taking something & completely making it my own.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Claudia – I love to educate myself, especially if I’m investing in something. I try to do a good bit of research before buying new equipment. There’s nothing worse than having something stand in the way of what you’re trying to create.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Claudia – I like to experiment with different tones/sounds & sometimes it’ll work for an idea I want to get out, but I normally fall back into the honesty of just the straight raw tone of my guitar.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Claudia – I really love White Falcon guitars. I think they’re all around beautiful.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Claudia – Tuning. Definitely tuning.
QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?
Claudia – I think the best guitar related purchase would be my capo. I love capos. The worst... hmmm. I’d say this pick-up mic I got off of eBay that extended maybe a foot. How do you even plug that in!?!?!? You have to lay on the ground to play. I’m not that punk rock.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Claudia – A song I wrote called “Ghost on the Shelf.”
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Claudia – I was about 14 when I picked up a guitar, but when I really got serious about it I was around 18.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Claudia – I’m still getting there, ha-ha.
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Claudia – I think it’s easiest for me to write music with a guitar. I pick it up & strum some chords & before I know it I’m scribbling down lyrics. It kind of just falls together easier when you let your hands do the walking.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Claudia – I don’t know. I started with piano, which I hear should be the first. I think in a sense piano is a good instrument to start on because you can really learn to match tones & eventually play by ear.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Claudia – Sometimes it can be both, but for the most part I would say ally.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Claudia – I really love the way John Gourley plays. He puts a lot of soul into his playing. I like Bob Dylan & Conor Oberst’s realness when they play. Really honest & straight forward. I guess a lot of blues & old folk music. I think there’s some great talent amongst strings within those genres.
QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming their guitar)?
Claudia – I haven’t named mine, but now I kind of want to, ha-ha. Big red. No, but I don’t think it’s silly. In all, your guitar is normally who you tell all your darkest secrets to. I think that makes it real in a way.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Claudia – I try to be gentle, so I’d say break a string.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Claudia – I try to study my chords by learning songs by artists I really love & playing them over & over until I can play through the song without any mistakes.
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Claudia – During the winter I tend to play a lot more. Maybe 20 to 30 hours a week. I’d prefer to play music all day if I could.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Claudia – I actually don’t use guitar picks. I strum with my fingers
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Claudia – I should probably pay attention to that
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Claudia – When I look at them & fear that they’ll break during a performance.
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Claudia – I always break the same high E string. That little guy is just so fragile.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Claudia – I think my fretting hand is a little better. I play my guitar upside down (left-handed but not re-strung) & I’m actually more so right handed, so my right hand is a little more proficient. I like that it makes it easy for me to strum in 3/4 timing, because that’s my favorite.
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Claudia – I set it up myself.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Claudia – Standard.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Claudia – I prefer chicken scratch. I normally write down my lyrics with the chords or ideas at the top of the page & then I’ll record it so I remember what it is I liked.
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Claudia – I’ve never measured, but it’s usually just above my hips.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Claudia – I sometimes wish I played with a pick. I’ve bloodied up my fingers a good amount of times!
QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?
Claudia – Any string instrument. I think the hardest part of playing guitar is building up calluses. It’s a painful instrument to learn!
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Claudia – Spanish classical guitar. I love the intricacy of the fingerpicking.
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Claudia – I have a lot of trouble with bar chords.
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Claudia – I kind of make up my own techniques. I enjoy slapping the strings some times.
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Claudia – Capo!
QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?
Claudia – Finger-picking like a blue grass player.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Claudia – I haven’t.
QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?
Claudia – I think it’s easier to memorize chords when you start with learning your favorite songs. That way you know how it’s supposed to sound & you have a desire to really get it right.
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Claudia – I guess play upside down, ha-ha.
QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?
Claudia – One is a little cockier.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Claudia – No. It just doesn’t work that way.
QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?
Claudia – Probably Bob Dylan, just because he’s legend & his guitar moved so many people.
QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?
Claudia – John Gourley of Portugal. The Man. He has a really unique sound. He mixes different influences & I feel like it makes his playing very distinctive.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Claudia – www.feelnoother.com “Even The Blue”
QRD – Anything else?
Claudia – I don’t even play guitar.... Ha-ha-ha. Just kidding.