What Strings Do You Use?
We ask a great guitarist all those little questions you really want the answers to…This month: Andrew Watt of California Breed GT: Do you have a type of pick that you can’t live without? (Make/gauge and why)
AW: Nope… give me anything medium to hard and I’ll play you a song!
GT: If you had to give up all your pedals but three, what would they be? (And why)
AW: Number 1 would be my 72 Univox Super Fuzz because it’s the gnarliest fuzz of all time. One side you’ve got Townshend Live At Leeds and with a flip of a switch you’ve got Corgan on Gish. Best of both worlds for me. Number two would be my 86 Ibanez TS -10, that they say is the last version of the Tube Screamer to be on SR V’s board before he left this world. It’s the smoothest I’ve played thus far. They really paid attention to low end with that version. For whatever reason there is a really cool dry signal that comes across with the one I got on my board. It adds a layer of clarity I don’t get with any other overdrive pedal. Number three would have to be The Andy Watt Cumshot… custom pedal… don’t ask questions!
GT: Do you play another instrument well enough to do so in a band?
AW: Bass was actually my first instrument. I played it in bands growing up. Now I just use it mostly for my own recordings and sessions around town, but from time to time a bass will come out when the gig calls for it.
GT: If a music chart were put in front of you, could you read it?
AW: Slowly but surely…
GT: Do guitar cables really make a difference? What make are yours?
AW: Of course they do. It’s mostly about the reliability for me. Having a cable crap out on you onstage is pretty much the worst feeling imaginable. Panic sets in and you’re a goner. At that point you have two choices - play like nothing’s happened or smash the shit out of your guitar! I use Mogami cables. They are the most reliable in the game.
GT: Is there anyone’s playing (past or present) that you’re slightly jealous of?
AW: Paul Kossoff - perfect phrasing, and vibrato for days!
GT: Your house/studio is burning down: which guitar do you salvage?
You say one, but I say I have two hands. My 1962 SG Special and my 1946 Martin 0-18 - all I need in this life of sin.
GT: What’s your favourite amp and how do you set it?
AW: I have a small old 50s Valco made Supro I am obsessed with. I picked it up in San Fran. It has two knobs (tone and volume). Less is more for me amp wise always. Tone at 1 o’clock and Volume all the way up!
GT: What kind of action do you have on your guitars? (Any particular quirks etc?)
AW: Relatively low but there’s gotta be room to really dig in.
GT: What strings do you use?
AW: I have been using D’addario 10-46 sets forever but in the last year I started taking the first and second strings from a pack of 11-49 to get a little more fight out of my leads. I use that set-up on all my electric guitars – a hybrid set. For Acoustic I use D’Addario 12-53 Phosphor Bronze – again, it’s all about reliability. Andrew Watt is the 23-year-old lead guitarist of California Breed, the exciting new power trio featuring Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals and Jason Bonham on drums. Their debut self-titled album, produced by Dave Cobb (Rival Sons), is released by Frontiers Records in the UK on May 19th. More info: www.californiabreed.com
Andrew Watt with his 1962 Gibson SG Special