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QRD #66 - Guitarist Interviews X
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Guitarist Interviews:
Gavin MacArthur
Gary Murray
Joe O'Sullivan
Tony Whitlock
Jason Williams
Lucio Menegon
Dan Bridgewood-Hill
Igliashon Jones
Denny Kopp
Drew Jacobs
Jason Hendrix
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Guitarist Interview with Drew Jacobs of Drew Jacobs & the Sauce
February 2014
Drew Jacobs
Name: Drew Jacobs
Bands: current bands (as a guitarist) Drew Jacobs & the Sauce, Drewbear
Websites: facebook.com/DrewJacobAndTheSauce
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?

Drew – A black Hamer Slammer with white pickguard (strat-style).  I have no idea what happened to it.  It’s a shame, too.  Pretty decent guitar.

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

Drew – Squire Telecaster, BOSS Tuner, MXR GT-OD overdrive, MXR Carbon Copy Delay, TC Electronic Flashback Delay (typically either the tape setting or analog), TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb, BOSS TR2 Tremolo, Boss CE-3 Chorus Ensemble, Danelectro Chicken Salad Vibrato, into a Fender Princeton Chorus (125 watt solid state).

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

Drew – The real answer is, a good amp is the most important tool as far as having an acceptable guitar setup.  But, assuming you have a decent amp, it’s gonna be your guitar or your effects that most significantly shape your unique tone.  For me, it’s the effects.  Also “touch”, which is your hands & your fingers & the subtle ways they interact with the instrument, is vital.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Drew – The Fender is the main guy right now, but I have a great Sunn amp which is on the disabled list.  Tube amps sound great, but are fragile.  Using the solid-state amp means I can rely on consistent sound.

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

Drew – Telecaster is the current hotness, because of its bite & bright tone.  I like Les Paul style guitars for warmth, & all around great rhythm playability.

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

Drew – Probably something out of my comfort zone, like a Jazzmaster or a Jaguar.  Nothing crazy custom.

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

Drew – Too hard! I’d probably have to do a whole line.  If I had to choose just one, I might try to do something weird like a synth effect, or an envelope filter or a sequencer.  I like really intuitive design, simple yet wide in scope of control, good tracking, etc.  Definitely needs to be rugged yet attractive, colorful, & true bypass.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Drew – Two electric guitars: the Squire Tele & an Aspen (apparently Japanese made copies of popular american guitars, mine is a Les Paul style).  Two acoustic guitars: Schecter Diamond Series (low action, but really good tone) & another one that I don’t really know much about, but write most of my songs on.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Drew – I keep them in their cases, but sometimes leave them in my van :(  I’m definitely an abuser or at least a neglector.

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

Drew – An affordable price tag for a good quality product.

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

Drew – Good balance, good action, high output, warm tone.

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

Drew – Free & gift wrapped.

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

Drew – I usually stick with what I get.  Just get someone to set it up.

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

Drew – I watch lots & lots of YouTube videos! & definitely like to try before I buy.  In some cases I have seen a piece of equipment in a friend’s rig & asked to borrow it.  If I like it, I will buy it.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Drew – I keep things pretty consistent.  I’ve been slowly expanding my pedalboard over the past year.  I’m happy with it.  This year I’m going to build a B-rig.

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

Drew – I tend to stick with the bridge pickups a lot, no matter what guitar I use, but I like to ride the tone knob to brighten or darken my tone depending on the situation.

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

Drew – I want every pedal ever made.  But immediately, I need a wah-wah, an Electro-Harmonix POG 2, MXR Phase 90, MXR Blue Box, Red Witch Synthotron, BOSS DD 3, PS-3, & Tera Echo, AND: the entire line of quality, but budget priced pedals by Mooer.  Any Fender amp would be great & I really like Telecasters & Gibson & Epiphone guitars.   

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

Drew – Good hardware & electronics.

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

Drew – It’s not very glamorous, but the best thing I ever did was buy a $30 One-Spot 9-volt power supply to power my pedals.  I haven’t really made any truly bonehead purchases, though I’ve had to settle for low-end guitars & used amps thus far.  I’d really like to upgrade without trading in (credit card debt, here I come!).

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

Drew – Effects: I really favor MXR, TC Electronic, & Electro-Harmonix
Guitars: Fender & Gibson.  Don’t fuck with perfection.
Amps:  Fender.  Refer to above statement.
I don’t really like Ibanez that much.  & I don’t like it when people use Marshall amps when they’re not supposed to.       

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

Drew – An A chord.

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

Drew – 15-16

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

Drew – I haven’t peaked yet, but I haven’t played much in earnest until about 2 years ago (I’m really a bass player).  Hopefully I’ll never stop improving, although I’m not very dedicated.

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

Drew – It doesn’t.  I’m definitely a bass player & a songwriter, but I am really developing an affection for guitar.  & having good equipment is a nice lubricant.

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

Drew – I don’t think it’s harmful, but I think piano is an ideal choice for anyone interested in being a well-rounded musician.  I regret not taking lessons as a child.

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

Drew – I guess I’d say it’s an ally, but for me I would say it’s more of a tool.

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

Drew – David Gilmore, Prince, Ernie Isley, Pete Townsend, Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, Ike Turner, the Big Three at Motown (Eddie Willis, Joe Messina, Robert White), Chips Moman, Jimmy Johnson (Muscle Schoals) David Williams (session man, Michael Jackson [“Billie Jean”]), Tony Iommi, Mike Campbell, Mark Bolan, Chuck Berry, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, The Edge, Neil Young, Curtis Mayfield.

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

Drew – I think it’s sweet, but I have never been good at it.

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

Drew – I smashed a guitar against a tree when I was eighteen & I never want to do it again.

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

Drew – Listen to music constantly, & try to figure out just by hearing

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

Drew – I gig a lot (up to 12 stage hours a week); but presently, sadly, I don’t practice much on my own.  However, when I am writing I tend to play a lot offstage.  Obviously I would like to practice more, but not excessively.

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

Drew – I’ll use anything medium to heavy, but I tend to buy Tortex or Dunlop picks.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Drew – .10s D’addario almost exclusively.  They feel the best to my fingers.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Drew – About every other show.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Drew – It happens.

QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?

Drew – Well now, you see, that’s interesting because I’m left-handed, but I play right-handed.  So I have a very unusual rhythmic style.  My fret hand, which is my more articulate hand, tends to do a lot of choppy palm muting & such.

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

Drew – I have typically had friends do it for me, but I think it is a valuable skill to learn.  I should learn how to do it.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Drew – Standard tuning.  At this point I only have two guitars, so live it’s best to keep things simple.

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

Drew – I don’t use an official system, but I do make copious notes & chord charts.  Sometimes I draw shapes or write syllables (da, dat, do) to express rhythmic ideas.

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

Drew – Just above the belt.

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

Drew – Not practicing which equals no muscle memory.  It would be nice to have a couple of licks that were automatic.

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

Drew – Anything really.  But in particular playing drums is something everyone should try, in order to grasp how all instruments work together to create texture.

QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?

Drew – Chicken pickin’ & fingerstyle.

QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?

Drew – The ability to learn & execute lengthy classic rock style solos.

QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?

Drew – Bending the tonic up to the 2nd degree sounds totally psychedelic. 

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

Drew – Two unconventional slides: plastic lipstick tube & shot glass.

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

Drew – Chordal soloing.

QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?

Drew – I’ve never taken lessons, but I am always watching people play & have definitely been shown some stuff.  Also, recently I have discovered some really good videos on YouTube, namely Creative Guitar Studio.

QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?

Drew – Transposition & common chord progressions.  Seeing similarities in seemingly disparate styles that aren’t obvious to the average listener.

QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?

Drew – Soft hands, a lot of reverb & delay, & a real loose sense of rhythm.  Know where the holes are & don’t try to fill them all in.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Drew – I don’t know much about the circuitry, but Tremolo effects are my favorite.  I veer toward the softer “triangle wave” & a slow to medium speed & a medium to high depth.  However, you can get some really cool effects with the square wave & the sawtooth wave.  Tremolo amps used to be very popular- it’d be cool to have one.

QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?

Drew – Pretty frequently, depending on the song.  I do tend to stick with my bridge pickup though.

QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?

Drew – If you can’t play rhythm guitar you shouldn’t play guitar.  It is a fundamental skill that should be respected & should form the basis of one’s playing ability.

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

Drew – No.  The rhythm section must be solid or else it’s a big mess.  Besides, drums & bass are what makes people dance.

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

Drew – One of Tom Petty’s 12-string Rickenbacker guitars because he has several & wouldn’t miss one. :)

QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?

Drew – Wilco’s Nels Cline because he infuses a jazz sensibility into a very un-jazz band & yet he is so complimentary.

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Drew – Between midnight & a quarter to one.

QRD – Anything else?

Drew – Send me pedals! & amps!  & pedals!