What Strings Do You Use?

Bar­rie Cado­gan

Guitar Techniques - - Intro -

I’m jeal­ous of people who saw my he­roes like Jimi Hen­drix or Robert John­son.

We ask a great gui­tarist all those lit­tle ques­tions you re­ally do want the an­swers to… This month: Lit­tle Bar­rie and Pri­mal Scream gui­tarist, Bar­rie Cado­gan. GT: Do you have a type of pick that you can’t live with­out?

BC : The blue Jim Dun­lop Tor­tex 1.0mm picks. I like the thick ones.

GT: If you had to give up all your ped­als but three, what would they be?

BC : 1) Dr Sci­en­tist Re­ver­ber­a­tor - great re­verb in a pedal. It’s or­ganic rather than clin­i­cal and it has loads of cool set­tings. You can get some amaz­ing psy­che­delic/surf/ spaghetti western sounds out of it. 2) My cus­tom built U-Fuzz. Built by Mag­netic Ef­fects it’s based on the orig­i­nal Univox Su­per­fuzz, which was the same cir­cuit as the Shin Ei Com­pan­ion or Shaftes­bury Duo Fuzz. It’s very sim­ple: Vol­ume and Fuzz and a tone switch that gives you two dif­fer­ent tones; one tone is fat and bru­tal and the other just face melt­ing. 3) My Cus­tom Built Fuzz-Wah, again built by Mag­netic Ef­fects. A com­bi­na­tion of tweaked Tone Ben­der and a Vox wah-wah. Both sounds come on when you step on it. The idea be­hind it was to try and get a Ron Asheton (of The Stooges) sound.

GT: Do you play an­other in­stru­ment well enough to do so in a band?

BC : I play bass on ses­sions some­times. The only time I played bass on­stage was at a gig for the Jus­tice For Hills­bor­ough cam­paign at The Scala. The band was some of Pri­mal Scream plus Mick Jones And Paul Si­menon. We played a set in­clud­ing Guns Of Brix­ton. Paul never played bass when he sang that so I vol­un­teered to do it. He’d brought along his orig­i­nal white Pre­ci­sion he used in The Clash, so I had to play it on that. Paul sang it bril­liantly while I was look­ing down at his bass in awe of it think­ing ‘don’t drop it’.

GT: If a mu­sic chart were put in front of you, could you read it?

BC : Not at all.

GT: Do gui­tar ca­bles make a dif­fer­ence? What are yours?

BC : I’m not even sure what brand my ca­bles are at the mo­ment; they must be a mix­ture. I’ve bought cheap ones that have been fine and ex­pen­sive ones that have been rubbish. I’ve al­ways liked the old style curly ca­bles. I used to find them in bar­gain bins in shops or in old gui­tar cases. People used to laugh when I’d turn up to gigs with them, but you can buy them any­where now. I have some Vox and Fen­der curly ca­bles that have lasted a long time.

GT: Is there any­one’s play­ing (past or present) that you’re slightly jeal­ous of?

BC : I’m more in awe of them than jeal­ous. But I’m jeal­ous of people who saw my he­roes like Jimi Hen­drix, Skip James, Robert John­son, Howlin’ Wolf or bands like the MC5 or James Brown in late 60s, early 70s - it must have been amaz­ing! I wish I had the vi­brato of Danny Kir­wan, the orig­i­nal­ity of Johnny Marr or the ex­plo­sive­ness of J Mas­cis. One of my favourite gui­tarists of to­day is Tommy Bren­neck, who plays gui­tar with Charles Bradley and The Bu­dos Band. He’s such a great player, a lot of soul and R&B in there but he has his own spin on it and his own tone. Yeah, ac­tu­ally I’m jeal­ous of him!

GT: Your house is burn­ing down: which gui­tar do you sal­vage?

BC : My cherry red 1962 Gibson ES 330 (pic­tured) - that gui­tar’s stuck by me for the long­est time.

GT: What’s your favourite amp and how do you set it?

BC : My white 1963/64 Fen­der Bass­man amp with its 2x12 cab­i­net - it’s such a great amp. I found my sound when I got that. It’s re­ally sim­ple but it just works. I use in­put 1 on the nor­mal chan­nel, Vol­ume on 5 or 6, Tre­ble at 5 1/2, Bass on 5 1/2 and Pres­ence on full. Any gui­tar sounds good in that amp. Some­times I take an­other ca­ble out of in­put 2 on the Nor­mal chan­nel and feed it into a cus­tom built JPF 2x12 combo or a brown 1961 Fen­der Su­per. That works re­ally well too but the Bass­man’s my No.1.

GT: What kind of ac­tion do you have on your gui­tars?

BC : To be hon­est I’m not su­per fussy about set-up, al­though I don’t like the ac­tion too low. I don’t do much to the gui­tars my­self. I took a few gui­tars into Re­gent Sounds once for a bit of a ser­vice and they told me they were all set up dif­fer­ent.

GT: What strings do you use?

BC : I’m not too choosy on string brands ei­ther. I tend to use Ernie Ball strings a lot be­cause I al­ways have. If I’m play­ing a Gibson elec­tric gui­tar it would be 11-48 strings. I’d use those on a Jazzmas­ter too. On the Dubreuille cus­tom gui­tars I use 10-46. Some­times my gui­tars have been re­strung with other brands and I didn’t no­tice. I don’t like brand new strings. They’re al­ways bet­ter af­ter a few gigs, so I don’t change them that of­ten.

GT: What are you up to at the mo­ment?

BC : I’m do­ing Lit­tle Bar­rie stuff. We have a new al­bum out on 26th May called Shadow so we’re get­ting ready for that. We have some US dates on the east coast and then we’ll be in the UK .

Bar­rie Cado­gan and his favourite Gibson ES-330

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