Interview with Grant Nesmith of Ocean Forest
August 6, 2017
Name: Grant Nesmith
Bands: Ocean Forest
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Grant – Ibanez Gio & I gave it to my younger sister for her 14th birthday.
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Grant – Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster, Keeley Psi Fuzz, Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. EHX Lester K, MXR Phase 90, Boss Chorus Ensemble, Digitech Digi Delay into Vintage Modified Fender Deluxe which also has footswitch with extra drive, reverb, delay, & chorus.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Grant – Probably the TS9 because it’s my “always on” pedal.
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Grant – My Fender Deluxe because it sounds amazing, it’s super reliable & you can get a wide array of sounds from the foot switch
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Grant – Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster has great tone, it stays in tune & I fell in love with it the first time I picked it up
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Grant – It would be an all white Jazzmaster
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Grant – A fuzz & phaser activated by one stomp.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Grant – 5 electrics, 2 acoustics, & 2 basses.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Grant – Band room in the cases.
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Grant – A built in guitar stand.
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Grant – I prefer guitars with 1 volume knob. I switch pickups too often to keep up with 2.
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Grant – I paid $400 for my Jazzy & love it.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Grant – Upgrade if necessary.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Grant – I’ll usually do about a month’s worth of research.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Grant – I’m constantly adding & taking away pedals. There are a few that have been in my rig since day since day one.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Grant – I find a tone I like & stick with it.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Grant – Earthquaker Avalanche Run & Rainbow Machine, & Diamond Chorus Vibrato.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Grant – It’s easier to learn on a guitar with low action.
QRD – What has been the best guitar related purchases you’ve made?
Grant – I got an Epiphone SG from a pawnshop for $120 & invested $70 in upgrades & that thing sounds mean as hell!
QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?
Grant – You can never go wrong with a Fender.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Grant – A big, fat, dirty E chord.
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Grant – 12.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Grant – I peaked at 20.
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Grant – It portrays all of the emotions & feelings.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Grant – Sure. Guitar taught me the chords, piano taught me the scales.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Grant – Ally!
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Grant – Neil Young, Isaac Brock, Dickey Betts, J Mascis, Kevin Parker, George Harrison, Roger McGuinn, Kyle Rogers.
QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming guitars)?
Grant – Silly.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Grant – I painted on a Rickenbacker Bass with White Out, sorry Richard.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Grant – Listening & studying is just as much practice as physically playing.
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Grant – I play between 10 to 15 hours a week, though that number increases in the winter because I have more time on my hands. I’m content with the amount I play.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Grant – Jim Dunlop the Wedge .88 mm because I can really dig in & get a dirtier sound with a heavier pick.
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Grant – I use .11s because they’re light enough to bend & heavy enough that they don’t break very often.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Grant – Never! My dad changes them! Thanks Pop!
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Grant – 3 or 4 times a year.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Grant – Strumming hand. Fretting hand is the color & strumming hand is the emotion.
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Grant – I take my guitars to Dave Altman in Myrtle Beach.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Grant – Half step down, drop D, Open D, G, & B. We have a song, “I’ll Be Gone” off our new album that’s in Open C#.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Grant – I don’t write anything down.
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Grant – Low.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Grant – I tend to play too many notes at times.
QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?
Grant – Any string instrument.
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Grant – I’d love to be a bad-ass chicken picker.
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Grant – I try not to think that much into it.
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Grant – I’ve been playing a lot of lap steel lately
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (Ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Grant – Capo.
QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?
Grant – Slide.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Grant – My first summer playing, I took lessons from a friend’s dad. He taught us a bunch of early Beatles songs.
QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?
Grant – Tune that sucker!
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Grant – Play a bunch of Maj7 chords sloppily.
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo/vibrato systems?
Grant – Use them all of the time.
QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?
Grant – 10 all day long.
QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?
Grant – Ego.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Grant – Maybe… for a few songs.
QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?
Grant – George Harrison’s 1963 Rickenbacker 360/12 string.
QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?
Grant – Kevin Parker is doing amazing things, especially live. He creates sounds you’ve never heard before; he comes up with killer chord progressions & knows when not to play. Mac DeMarco is doing some unique & innovative things with a guitar as well.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Grant – Here.
QRD – Anything else?
Grant – Thanks!