Interview with Casey Harvey of Thrushes
Name: Casey Harvey
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Casey – A terrible pink Taiwanese metal guitar with a Floyd Rose bridge setup & a bowed neck with like 2 inch action. Hope it’s at the bottom of a river.
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Casey – Jaguar or Rick 330 deluxe to echo to delay to fuzz to chorus to flanger to another longer delay to reverb to a splitter where one signal goes to Rickenbacker B212 Amp, other signal to reverse reverb to reverse delay to Fender Super Reverb Amp.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Casey – All are important, but probably effects to most for our sound.
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Casey – I play in stereo with 2 amps. 1973 Rickenbacker B212 which is very warm & Ric sounding tube amp, I have never seen another one or know of anyone else that plays one. I bought it cheap at Atomic Music outside DC about 20 years ago because I wanted a real tube amp. It was $200. The other amp is a 1970 Fender Super Reverb, classic Fender brightness. The 2 amps work well together because they cover such different tones & make for a full sound, especially as one is playing through mostly reverse delay & reverse reverb.
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Casey – American Reissue 1962 Jaguar. Great cutting tone & feels really nice to play.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Casey – My current Jag, but in white not the sunburst that I have now.
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Casey – Definitely some sort of reverb or echo. I love all kinds of reverb, but specifically that slap back sound you hear on 1950s rock & roll records.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Casey – 5.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Casey – At home we built a very posh soundproofed rehearsal room, they hang on the wall there.
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Casey – Pick storage.
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Casey – $500.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Casey – Yes, I have a Mastery Bridge on all my guitars.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Casey – Yes, always trying new stuff, chasing the sounds.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Casey – I currently really like the Johnny Marr model Jaguar.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Casey – Good tuners.
QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?
Casey – Big muffs, have tried lots of them. The op-amp stuff seems better for me. All the others do not sit well in the band mix.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Casey – G to D chords.
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Casey – 15.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Casey – Mid to late 20s.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Casey – Both. I’m not a very good guitarist, but playing within my limitations helps me.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Casey – Johnny Marr, Kevin Shields, Scotty Moore, Johnny Ramone.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Casey – Just playing around writing melodies & songs. I do not practice scales or typical things like that.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Casey – Orange Dunlop
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Casey – Was DR 10s, nice bright sounds, but they are inconsistent. I recently switched to Guadalupe Custom Strings, 10 gauge, I like these a lot.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Casey – Fairly often
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Casey – Not at all anymore. The Mastery Bridges really help
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Casey – Send to Big Crunch in Baltimore. They know what they are doing & know what I play.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Casey – Drop D for drones.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Casey – Recording little ideas.
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Casey – Probably too low, but came of age watching Kurt Cobain. :)
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Casey – I cannot play solos.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Casey – Did not take any lessons.
QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?
Casey – Playing a guitar for sounds
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo/vibrato systems?
Casey – The trem on the jag works very well.
QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?
Casey – Never, dimed to highest treble.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Casey – No.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Casey – I like the sounds on “Two Ships” from our Exposing Seas record & “Juggernaut” from Night Falls.