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Gary Moore | Gary Moore

Why a pink Strat is Gazzer's fave


You've just embarked on a major tour, how many countries does this involve, and how long will it take?

"Millions... no seriously, when we finish England we go to Japan then Scandanavia and Europe taking in quite a few countries there, then America after that which should take us up to the Summer. Hopefully, when we come back here, we might do a festival or two, depending on what's happening."

The numbers you do are obviously a mixture from the new album and the last one, "Corridors", but do you still include the old favourites like "Back On The Streets" and "Parisienne Walkways"?

"We do 'Back On The Streets' but not 'Parisienne...' anymore. We want to do a tour without playing it, to let people know that we want to move on. And to be totally honest, it's got no place in what I'm doing now. I feel that aspect of music is covered by playing things like 'Empty Rooms' on stage, the same emotion and feel - you don't want to repeat yourself too much."

Another change seems to be in the guitar you've been using on stage. Is this the Gibson Les Paul Junior once owned by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols?

"Well I only used that at the beginning of the tour, but I'm back with the old faithful Strat, now. I always end up with it, you know. I keep trying to use other guitars, but they all fall apart."

What about Peter Green's old Les Paul?

"I haven't been using that on stage much – I generally play the pink Strat."

Did you ever find another Fender as a back up?

"Yeah, when I went to Japan last year. A radio station said, if you come to visit us, we'll give you a guitar so I said, okay, you can make it one of those Vintage Strats. So they bought me one. It's one of the re-issued series, but it's an American one, not a Japanese version. It's really good; a sunburst with a maple neck, it's just beginning to play in."

Is the acoustic you use a Takamine?

"Yes, they made Greg Lake and myself an acoustic 12 string each. There's only two in existence – we wanted the top of the line, we wanted them black, so they just made two."

Who looks after your guitars?

"A guy called Andy, you wouldn't know him. He's been with us since the beginning of the tour and I do need a full time guitar roadie. He used to be with Eric Clapton, Steve Miller and Stevie Winwood."

What do you think of British guitar makers and their products?

"British makers...? I haven't really tried any of their guitars. In the past I've tested out a couple but I haven't found them very inspiring – but that's because of the 'new' problem as well. I don't really like 'new' guitars very much. I can't get into them.

The salmon pink Strat is a legend from the Hank Marvin days. Does it hold a special significance for you?

"Right. The first guitar I ever saw was a pink Strat, and I said when I grow up I'm going to have one of those. But I only got one two years ago when I was with Greg Lake. It's the ultimate guitar, really – between the Strat and the Les Paul, you're pretty well covered. Other guitars are just weak copies of these. The Strat has an edge, a bite to it which I like.

How many guitars do you take on tour?

"About four, maybe five."

Are you still using the Charvels?

"No. I was using them at the start of the tour to do a solo piece with a radio transmitter thing, but I've stopped using them now because, again, it just doesn't sound as good as a Fender Strat."

Which strings do you use?

"Dean Markley's – 10s with heavy (52) at the bottom."

What do you do for warm up exercises... scales?

"No, press ups... I just play around, nothing in particular. I can't sit down and just play scales I get very bored doing that. I play whatever comes into my head."

What about the set up on stage – how are you using the Marshalls?

"There are three generally... two at the beginning of the night and three at the end, y'know. They're all hundreds, and all old ones as well. I've stopped using the master volume ones at the moment, for some reason, I've gone back to using the originals. They're less noisy and they have a warmer tone – but the master volume versions are great for that distortion, and they work well with the Les Paul. The old regular hundreds are the best for the Strat – they've got a lot of body."

How about effects?

"I'm using less of the little Boss pedals then I did last year – in fact the only one I use is the overdriver/distortion. I'm now using the Roland SDE3000 digital delay which is programmable. The interesting thing about that is I don't have to touch it. I can do the whole thing from footswitches. I still use my 555 tape echo, but I can get a four second delay on the SDE, so we do a few tricks with that.

"I think if you use too many effects you detract from the natural sound of the instrument. The more you put between you and the amplifier, the more you lose the tone of the guitar. Some guitarists do this and play really loud, thinking it's great, but by the time it gets past the first 20 rows, it's a dirge, a complete mess."

Do you experiment with your sound, or do you tend to find a suitable one and stick to it?

"I mess about in the studio quite a lot, but live, it's difficult. I've been using different pickups on the guitar for solo bits, whereas I always used to stick to the treble pickup. In the studio I can spend a lot of time messing around – different DI set ups, effects on the DI and a straight sound from the amp, all things like that. I try little practice amps as well."

Do you tend to use the out of phase selection on the Strat?

"I don't on stage 'cos it's tricky with a three way switch – it's so easy to knock it off position."

You featured prominently in the recent BBC TV series 'Rockschool'. What did you think of the programme?

"Terrible. When we did the show they didn't explain the whole format to us. We thought we were going to have our own half hour or hour special. Then they cut the whole thing up and spread it over weeks. It seems stupid to me with inserts in between – all these embarrassing women playing guitars and stuff. It seems stupid to me – they're trying to show how modern and liberal they are by having a woman playing guitar, and like she was a rotten guitarist anyway. Not because she was a woman but because she was a rotten guitarist. They could have had any kid in there who could have demonstrated it better. It was just embarrassing really, very amateur."

What would you say is the major contribution to your particular style – speed, picking technique, or what?

"I think conviction really. It's your attitude that really creates the style that you put across to people. I just try to put as much into it as I can."

What advice would you offer to up and coming guitarists?

"I think a good rock player has to be exciting, inventive and energetic. But I think emotion plays a big part in it. A fault of too many players nowadays is they tend to concentrate on the speed. They copy people like me or other guitarists, and they only scratch the surface."


More with this artist



Previous Article in this issue

Doing A Video

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Electric Avenue


One Two Testing - Copyright: IPC Magazines Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

 

One Two Testing - May 1984

Interview by Bob Hewitt

Previous article in this issue:

> Doing A Video

Next article in this issue:

> Electric Avenue


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