with Raine Liimakka
Name: Raine Liimakka
Bands: Can Can Heads
Websites: cancanheads.com, kissankusi.com, liimakka.net
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Raine – Some no name bass guitar which I switched to Yamaha BB300 bass in a month or so, this happened maybe ‘87. Still got it. I think my first real guitar was a Fenix Telecaster (not the one in the pic) got it from my old Valse Triste bandmate. I think he threw it against the wall at least once. My kids use it now.
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Raine – Uh, very simple: gtr/distortion/amp, sometimes I use a tuning pedal as well...
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Raine – This is a hard one, but maybe it’s the guitar.
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Raine – Marshall JCM800. From the 80s I guess. This combined to Tele are THE sound.
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Raine – Fender Telecaster. Love the sound & its body.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Raine – Probably the same as above. I’d design something special for it. But just the paint job. Maybe some neat super override button would be nice too.
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Raine – I don’t know too much about these. I’ve used Ibanez Soundtank Power Metal pedals. It was all I needed, but they all broke down because of too much kicking. So I just got now Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. About the same sound, not so raw though. Hopefully it’s better built.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Raine – Maybe ten. But there’s three acoustics & a couple of basses. Though my kids are using some of them, so practically they own them, hah.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Raine – Just in my rehearsal room, in bags or cases if they have one.
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Raine – Some more endurance maybe.
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Raine – Just a new Telecaster again....
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Raine – Oh, I don’t know. I’m really not interested in that. My guitar cost maybe 600 or 700 euros, I think that’s okay for that guitar.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Raine – I’m happy with my current situation. Just need some new cords.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Raine – Very little, when I bought (used) the Ibanez pedal I just checked the sound from YouTube.... Very professional.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Raine – If something breaks down, maybe then.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Raine – My main band (Can Can Heads) needs just demolition-like distortion & a mean acoustic sound. If I do some overdubbing I might use for example an old half broken wah-wah pedal or some cheap tremolos, etc. The one tone is kinda okay for me.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Raine – Although I don’t need anything right now, I’m always looking for some old stuff & tell myself it’s for my kids. They’d probably prefer something else.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Raine – It’s a positive thing if the tuning holds up.
QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?
Raine – The best might be the Tele, except I didn’t exactly pay for it. I did a couple of paintings for it, still owe one. The worst could be some Ernie Ball or Fender picks, because they always break.
QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?
Raine – I guess it’s just what you get used to. Maybe I wouldn’t buy any Jackson, Hamer, etc., metal guitars. Some amps have sounded very bad when I used them in gigs, can’t remember the names.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Raine – I think E flat.
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Raine – I was twenty, used to play bass before that.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Raine – I think I’ve been going downwards, ha-ha. I’m not very tech oriented. I’ll go with the flow & feeling.
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Raine – It probably doesn’t. I’m just using it the most.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Raine – Not necessary, a piano might be useful as well.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Raine – Both. It depends on the mood & the song.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Raine – D.Boon, Marc Ribot, Arto Lindsay, Sonny Sharrock, Terrie Ex, Andy Moor, Wilko Johnson, East Bay Ray, Billy Zoom, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, Jarno Mällinen, Nels Cline, Steve Cropper, John Lee Hooker, Pena Dassum, Contortions & Magic Band guitarists... still too many missing from the list.
QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming guitars)?
Raine – If they are dead serious it’s a bit silly.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Raine – Probably dropped one.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Raine – Just picking nonsense.
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Raine – Not much these days... I just pick up the guitar when I pass it & play it a bit. Mostly acoustic. I would like to play more, but not really just by myself, I just may be too lazy. I should spread guitars everywhere.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Raine – Just bought yellow Dunlop Tortex picks. Used to buy just D’Addario picks, but can’t find them anymore. Size medium suits me, they don’t break, just wear out.
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Raine – Maybe .011 right now. Not too thick, not too thin. Basic stuff you can find from anywhere.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Raine – Not too often, if there’s some gigs ahead or a big rehearsal/recording. Now I should change them, they are covered with blood.
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Raine – With this real Telecaster I’ve broken maybe once or twice. My record is when I broke 7 strings at one gig. A friend of mine did nothing else during the gig but change & tune my guitars.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Raine – Maybe strumming, never really gave much thought of it. Sometimes I play guitar with a percussive style, maybe that’s it.
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Raine – If there’s some problems during the gig I’m forcing someone I know to help me out. If it really breaks I’ll take it to a real fixer.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Raine – Basic tuning. I have this toy-like guitar which is in no particular tuning, it’s sometimes fun to play with it. No rules at all.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Raine – Just letters & strange markings. I sort of understand notes (learned them when I played trumpet as a kid), but it would be just too slow to use them.
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Raine – Because I usually play at home in a sitting position, I tend to raise the guitar to almost the same level.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Raine – Forgetting things I’ve been playing for almost twenty years.
QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?
Raine – Piano, drums....
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Raine – Old-fashioned blues.
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Raine – I’d like to learn to play more in the fingerpicking style.
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Raine – I just can’t remember, maybe some little things.
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (Ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Raine – I use very little of gadgets. But I’ve used a dish brush, paper, markers, spoons... & of course drum sticks.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Raine – Never have.
QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?
Raine – Maybe I would present something of my “own” style.
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Raine – Someone else would have to answer this one.
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo/vibrato systems?
Raine – Use them occasionally. Depends on the project.
QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?
Raine – Never. It’s on ten all the time. Same goes for volume.
QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?
Raine – Rhythm guitarists settle for less maybe? There’s probably no difference at all, people are just different.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Raine – I hardly ever listen to a band based on good playing. It’s just the atmosphere & good songs that make things happen to me. But sometimes like a good drummer may raise very mediocre band to a higher level with just playing hard & with great style. But how long will it carry the band, that’s another story.
QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?
Raine – I just don’t have an answer for this.
QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?
Raine – Well, Nels Cline plays pretty much anything. With good taste.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Raine – Not necessarily the best, but just some guitar playing in almost any Can Can Heads track.
QRD – Anything else?
Raine – I’ve never answered this many questions concentrating on just guitars. Actually this might be the only time. Thanks!