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Guitarist Interview with Paul Gregory of Lanterns on the Lake
June 2013

Name: Paul Gregory
Band: Lanterns on the Lake
Website: http://lotl.tumblr.com

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

Paul – My first guitar was a right-handed Encore Strat, which I got of my mate.  I swapped my computer for it (a Commodore 64 I’d had since I was 6 or something!). I restrung it left-handed (I’m left-handed). It was white... so I painted it black & green... it was disgusting.  Also it didn’t really work restringing it left-handed so it had fret buzz all over the neck, poor thing, it only had four strings on for the first six months. It was probably a good guitar. I actually have no idea what happened to it.

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

Paul – At the minute it this: Guitar - Cornell 1st Fuzz, Dunlop volume pedal (with Boss TU2), Fulltone 69mkii, Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master, Maxon OD9, Proco Rat. Electro Harmonix Micro POG, Line 6 DL4, Digitech Digidelay, Digitech Digiverb - Vox AC30 + Fender Blues Junior........ but I change set ups a lot.

QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?

Paul – All of it really, I’d probably say the guitar though mainly.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Paul – I use a Vox AC30 mainly, it’s an easy amp to use, has a beautiful clean tone & it takes pedals really well, I love the way it handles fuzz pedals. I also use a Blues Junior for recording, it’s just a great sounding amp. I don’t really like other amps to be honest. Recently I’ve been playing using both the Vox & the Fender together & it sounds ace.

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

Paul – I have two main guitars, one is a cherry red Epiphone Dot, which I got in a January sale about 2 years ago for £150.  I’ve upgraded it quite a bit, it got new pickups (Seymour Duncan 59s), it’s got Grover locking tuners, a tusk nut, & I put a Duesenberg tremolo on. The other is a blue Fender Telecaster with Kinman Broadcaster pickups in. I also have another black Telecaster, which I’m slowly falling in love with. Both Teles are Mexican.

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

Paul – Hmmm... it would be a semi-hollow thinline with a Duesenberg trem, locking tuners, coil tapped humbuckers, probably something which looked like a cross between an old Gretsch & a 1966 Guild Starfire V, white neck binding, block inlays, strap locks....

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

Paul – It would definitely be an analogue/tape sim delay/looper pedal... the main feature would be simplicity.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Paul – Four.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Paul – Two in the bands rehearsal room, two at home.

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

Paul – I only have flight cases for mine.

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

Paul – Being left handed, I basically look for anything! It’s really difficult finding a good left-handed guitar I find, the choices are somewhat limited.

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

Paul – I’ve got a decent one for £150 so I guess it could cost anything.…

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

Paul – I customize them quite a bit.  I’ve got relatively cheap guitars, so I always upgrade the pickups, although my black Tele is totally stock & the pickups on that guitar sound pretty good.

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

Paul – For years, literally years. I’ve been meaning to replace my DL4 & my Digidelay for the last 3 years with something else & I still haven’t finished the research.…

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Paul – I change the order of the pedals a lot, but it’s mainly the fuzzes & overdrives I change around

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

Paul – Tone changes depending on the song really, no two tunes use the same sound.

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

Paul – Pedal wise I’m after a Strymon El Capistan & a Bluesky.  Amps I’m more than happy with. Guitar wise... I just wish there was more choice for left handed folk, one day I know I’m going to walk into a guitar store & there will be an old cherry red semi-hollow hanging on the wall saying, “Lets be friends! Buy me!”

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

Paul – In my case it was strings....

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

Paul – The worst was an amplifier which shall remain nameless... it electrocuted me in a rehearsal, it hurt... I took that back. The best purchase was definitely my Epiphone.

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

Paul – I like Fender guitars, Epiphones are okay, I’ve never played any others to know to be honest. I’ve played through lots of amps & I only like the Vox AC30 & the Blues Junior, they just seem to like me. Effects... I think they all make something I’d use, I think Dunlop are really making some good stuff right now, the way huge stuff looks really good, & Strymon seem to be making unbelievable pedals. Fulltone have the best build quality I’ve come across, my 69mkii looks like it was built by aliens.

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

Paul – An A, every time, no idea why!

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

Paul – Fourteen.

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

Paul – Erm... not sure I’ve reached that point yet.

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

Paul – It’s just lots & lots of fun to do.

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

Paul – No not really.

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

Paul – Ally definitely.

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

Paul – Johnny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Nick McCabe, Kurt Cobain to name but a few...

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

Paul – I think it’s funny, I do own an Epiphone Les Paul, which is called Daisy. My Epiphone Dot has become known as “The Big Red Thing”, so I think its probably quite natural.

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

Paul – I use a cello bow & all my guitars have big friction marks on the top of the body from where I’ve bowed the paint off when playing.

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

Paul – I sometimes do some crazy stretches, but that’s about it.

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

Paul – Not sure how many hours I actually play.  If I was to be truly honest, I’d like to play every hour from the morning I wake up until the moment I go to bed.

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

Paul – I use Dunlop nylon 88 guage, they sound good.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Paul – D’Addario 11s, they don’t break. I did use 10s for a while, but I broke a string every gig & can’t be having that.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Paul – Once every three gigs is my usual rule.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Paul – After switching to 11s never, when I used 10s it was a constant.

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

Paul – I set my guitars up myself most of the time, but before touring I do get them set up by a guitar tech, just to be safe really.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Paul – Mostly just standard, I do use dropped D for some songs.

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

Paul – Don’t use any of that, all the ideas are either in my head or recorded on an iPhone very quickly.

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

Paul – Not too high, not too low,

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

Paul – I tense up my shoulders a lot, no idea why I do that, I really am trying to stop doing that.

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

Paul – Piano I guess? I play the drums too, which really doesn’t help towards guitar!

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

Paul – Cello bow, capo & slide.

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

Paul – Sweep picked arpeggios, I have tried for years & I simply cannot do it.
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Paul – Only ever tried the Duesenberg system & it’s great!

QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?

Paul – Quite a bit on the Telecasters, not so much on the Epiphone.

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

Paul – Not really! I tend to listen to the band as a whole, if they’re pants I can’t listen to it, even if the guitar player is amazing.

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

Paul – Either one of Hendrix’s or Kurt Cobain’s... because I could play them being a cackhander.

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Paul – On our new record which will be released in September 2013.  It’s called Until The Colours Run & its the best guitar work I’ve ever recorded... so far anyway.

QRD – Anything else?

Paul – Could all the guitar manufacturers in the world please make more left-handed models, or even just more colours!?! Duesenberg especially, I mean you can have black… or black... oh wait there is also one guitar which comes in orange... so black & orange... no other colours. Makes no sense??  Just put the left-handed ones in with the right-handed ones when you apply the colour??  & Gibson, no 335s...?  Unless you put a custom order in?  Honestly... that’s really shoddy.