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QRD #68 - Guitarist Interviews XI
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
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Guitarist Interviews:
Chris Ruffolo
Greg Kozlowski
James Youngjohns
Chandra Shukla
Raine Liimakka
Shane de Leon
Aaron Snow
Lauri Hyvärinen
Rainstick Cowbell
Jasper Stadhouders
Marcus Skinner
David Dobbs
Bonnie Mercer
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Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Jasper Stadhouders
Guitarist Interview with Jasper Stadhouders
June 2014
Jasper Stadhouders

Name: Jasper Stadhouders
Bands: Cactus Truck, Spinifex, Stadhouders/Govaert/De Joode, Field/Stadhouders
Websites: jasperstadhouders.comcactustruck.comspinifexmusic.nl, cactustruck.bandcamp.com,


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

Jasper – My first guitar was a child’s size acoustic nylon guitar which I got when I was 6. Actually I have no idea what happened to it.

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

Jasper – My main guitar is a Fender Telecaster (American Deluxe series). I always plug directly into the amp. No effect pedals.

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

Jasper – My guitar.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Jasper – I have two main amplifiers. Very often I’m the only amplified instrumentalist in the groups I play in, so I’m often struggling with either being too loud or too soft. But I found a 1994 Fender Pro Junior a few years ago & that’s the perfect amp for acoustic situations.  When I do play in louder bands I use my ENGL Thunder 50 Reverb. It works very well, cuts through, is loud, & has a nice crunch to it.

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

Jasper – Fender American Deluxe Telecaster. I had the pickups, electronic scheme, & bridge changed to the old school 50s Telecaster style.

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

Jasper – Probably would look like a Telecaster. Maybe I’d add a whammy bar or Bigsby bar to it. & perhaps I’d have the pickups go straight to the outputs without pot meters in between.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Jasper – 5 guitars. 1 bass guitar. 1 cuatro.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Jasper – Usually in my bedroom. Or in the closet.

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

Jasper – I almost always use gig bags. Zippers should definitely be improved...

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

Jasper – It has to sound good! & it has to be strong, because I like to play really really hard on it. It also has to have a big dynamic range.

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

Jasper – I paid around €1200 for my Telecaster if I remember correctly. But probably you can get a good guitar for €500-€800.

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

Jasper – I occasionally have adjustments made.

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

Jasper – Not really. I pretty much know & feel instantly if a piece of equipment suits my needs.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Jasper – No.

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

Jasper – I know how I want to sound. Don’t change it around.

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

Jasper – I like Telecasters. I love playing acoustic guitar. I play a Taylor. A decent one, nothing special though. Would love to get an old Gibson or Epiphone semi-acoustic guitar. & a resonator. & a banjo. Wouldn’t mind getting a Fender Precision Bass. Although I’m quite satisfied with my Rickenbacker bass.  I like Fender Deluxe Reverb amps. Ampegs too. Bassmans too.

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

Jasper – In soundchecks playing on an amp which isn’t mine, I usually play very loud right away to see how I can get the crunch out of the amp. I want the sound to be clean when I attack the strings quietly, but I want it to have a bit of distortion when I attack the strings hard.

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

Jasper – 6.

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

Jasper – Probably right before I die I’ll level up to my best playing.

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

Jasper – Just because I’ve played guitar for as long as I can remember.

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

Jasper – Depends on the period. I have had periods where I hated guitar & I hated the fact that I was a guitarist. But I’ve found a way to have the instrument be my ally & I fucking love the guitar actually. But that stuff goes up & down.

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

Jasper – Hmmm. I actually don’t listen so much to guitarists. When I tried to find the guitar sound that I have now, I basically tried to sound like Albert Ayler. Guitarists that did help me find my sound are Jimi Hendrix (no doubt still my favourite guitarist ever), Terrie Ex & Andy Moor (from The Ex, one of the greatest bands ever), Arto Lindsay (especially early DNA stuff), Zoot Horn Rollo, Derek Bailey, Tetuzi Akiyama, Sonny Sharrock, Bill Frisell. Probably I could add more names, but I’ll stop here.

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

Jasper – Pretty silly. But whatever, let people call their guitars however they want to.

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

Jasper – Phew. I’ve been beating the shit out of my Telecaster for years now. Lots of metal objects in between the strings. Lead pipes. The frets are really really damaged, but somehow I can still play on them. The body lost a lot of the paint job, because I beat it often with metal sticks. I try to use the entire instrument when I play. Not just the strings.
A few months ago I was playing a gig in Brussels & I used an old second hand Hofner electric guitar which has a whammy bar. I was pulling on it so hard that at one point all 6 strings broke & the bridge fell on the ground... It sounded real nice actually! & luckily the other guitarist in the band lended me his second guitar, on which I broke three strings. So 9 strings in one gig. Probably my record ha-ha.

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

Jasper – It’s been way too long since I’ve really practiced...

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

Jasper – I don’t play too much at home. I just play when I play gigs & when I have rehearsals. Luckily I’m playing gigs all the time so I feel like my playing is always developing. I would like to have a space though where I can practice & rehearse at whatever volume whenever I want to. But it’s very hard to find a place like that in Amsterdam unfortunately...

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

Jasper – I stopped using picks a long time ago. I always use a coin now, usually a quarter US dollar.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Jasper – PL018, PL020, PL024, NW044, NW052, NW064. I use such heavy strings to get the most sound out of the guitar I possibly can. I really try to approach it as an acoustic instrument. All the dynamics I do physically.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Jasper – Only when they break.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Jasper – Very often.

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

Jasper – They go hand in hand.

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

Jasper – I set it up myself. I like having a really high action so the strings can vibrate as much as possible.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Jasper – I tune my Telecaster a whole step down (D G C F A D) & sometimes I do a drop C. With such heavy gauge & action the tension on the strings was simply to high for standard tuning.  On my other guitars I use standard tuning.

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

Jasper – Sheet music. I always write by hand.

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

Jasper – The guitar hangs a little above my waist.

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

Jasper – It’s pretty hard to avoid certain motoric movements & gestures...

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

Jasper – Basically any other instrument is good to play. Just to get a feel for what it’s like to bow a note on the violin, blow a note on the trumpet or clarinet, hit a cymbal or a drum, touch a key. It helps a lot in understanding music & the problems other instrumentalists run in to.

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

Jasper – I wish I took classical guitar more seriously when I was younger & at conservatory.

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

Jasper – Make it sound like a saxophone.

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

Jasper – I recently broke my left wrist, but I didn’t want to give up playing. So I ended up playing gigs for 1 month with my right arm. Was doing a lot more prepared guitar. I picked up a bunch of stones from the city beach in Nice, France. & scraping them along the strings, they start singing really high complex overtones. I was very surprised! I also used a mic or cymbal stand as a slide. Works pretty well, it looks a little awkward though, having to hold it steady between my legs. Also used my feet on the guitar, works well with muting & scraping the strings along the pickups.

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

Jasper – I use the slide a lot. & those stones. & a lead pipe. & a handmade bow by Japanese/American percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani.

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

Jasper – Classical fingerpicking.

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

Jasper – My dad’s profession is guitar teacher. He was my teacher from age 6 to 15. At 15 I went to conservatory in Amsterdam while still in high school in Tilburg, my hometown. Then moved to Amsterdam at 17 & did a 4 year jazz guitar bachelor education. I had my last guitar lesson at age 21. I learned a whole lot! Overall I’ve been very lucky with the guitar teachers I’ve had & I owe my dad eternal debt for what he taught me.

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

Jasper – Encourage improvisation. It’s the easiest, quickest, & most direct way to find out how you want the guitar to sound.

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

Jasper – Play really hard I guess...?

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo/vibrato systems?

Jasper – Ah, when I play on an amp which has a system like that, I might use it every now & then. I like seeing the amp as an instrument on it’s own.

QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?

Jasper – I always have both potmeters completely open. I’m thinking about having the pickups soldered straight to the output, I’ve heard from friends that the signal will be stronger then.

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

Jasper – In my music, there is no difference. In improvised music, all players & instruments are equal.

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

Jasper – Sure.

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

Jasper – Would be nice to own Jimi Hendrix’s Strat.

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

Jasper – Phew that’s a really hard one... I really love what Nick Millevoi (from Philadelphia) is doing. Ken Aldcroft (from Toronto) is also fantastic I think.

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Jasper – At concerts. I play very physical & most of the sounds you hear you can “see” as well.

QRD – Anything else?

Jasper – No. Thanks!