60 Seconds with... Joanne Shaw Tay­lor

A Minute’s all it takes to find out what makes a great gui­tarist tick. Be­fore she jumped in her limo for the air­port we grabbed a quick chat with Bri­tish blues diva

Guitar Techniques - - Q&a -

GT: Who was your first in­flu­ence to play the gui­tar?

JST: Ste­vie Ray Vaughan. My fa­ther in­tro­duced me to his Live From Austin, Texas DVD when I was 13. My dad played a lot of older coun­try blues artist such as Mis­sis­sippi Fred McDow­ell, Bukka White etc but Ste­vie was the first player that re­ally in­spired me to start.

GT: What was the first gui­tar you re­ally lusted after?

JST: 1972 Tele­caster Thin­line. I’d seen Jonny Lang play­ing one and thought it was re­ally cool .

GT: What was the best gig you ever did?

JST: I opened for BB King when I was 17 in Switzer­land. That was a dream come true.

GT: What’s the most im­por­tant mu­si­cal les­son you ever learnt?

JST: You never play as good or as bad as you think you did. That’s kept me in a good frame of mind - aware of the im­por­tance of im­prove­ment but with­out be­ing to ob­ses­sive or anx­ious about it.

GT: If you could put to­gether a fan­tasy band with you in it, who would the other play­ers be?

JST: That’s a tough one. It would prob­a­bly have to be Paul McCart­ney on bass, Keith Richards on rhythm gui­tar, Booker T on key­boards, and Benny Ben­jamin on the drums. Maybe the Mem­phis horns, too.

GT: Who’s the great­est gui­tarist that’s ever lived?

JST: That’s ob­vi­ously per­sonal opin­ion and the prob­lem with opin­ions is ev­ery­one has one. My favourite would prob­a­bly be Gary Moore.

GT: Is there a solo you re­ally wish you had played?

JST: Cliffs Of Dover by Eric John­son.

GT: What’s the solo or song of your own that you’re most proud of?

JST: I would say that Di­a­monds In The Dirt is the song I’m most proud of. And I sup­pose my favourite solo of mine would prob­a­bly be on the song Soul Sta­tion.

It’s all down to per­sonal opin­ion but my favourite all time gui­tarist would prob­a­bly be Gary Moore.

GT: If you had to get rid of all your ped­als but three, what would they be?

JST: Tube­screamer TS9. I in­her­ited it off my older brother when I was 14. I’ve tried many dif­fer­ent over­drive ped­als but I keep com­ing back to this one. It gives a nice clean over­driven boost but isn’t too dis­torted and gives me the right amount of high end. Aqua Puss de­lay. I leave this pedal run­ning through most of the show for a lit­tle slap-back echo (a trick I learned off a few coun­try play­ers) and then I have an ad­di­tional de­lay I use that gives me a longer ef­fect on so­los like Jeal­ousy. Dime­bag Dar­rell Sig­na­ture wah-wah. My favourite wah-wah so far. I don’t tend to use a great deal of this but it’s a cool ef­fect to have in the arse­nal. I tend to use it more for rhythm than lead - I may kick it on to give me a deeper sound for rhythm parts on songs like Di­a­monds In The Dirt.

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

JST: No way!

GT: Is there a gui­tarist whose play­ing you’re slightly jeal­ous of – and why?

JST: Paul Kos­soff. I fell in love with his vi­brato the first time I heard The Hunter. Great tone, feel and phras­ing. He re­ally did have it all.

GT: If your house or stu­dio was burn­ing down, which gui­tar would you dive in to save?

JST: My 1966 Fen­der Esquire. It was my first gui­tar and re­gard­less of its value I just couldn’t re­place it. I have too many mem­o­ries I cre­ated with the help of that gui­tar.

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

JST: I don’t use them too much live any more but I’m still a huge fan of the Fen­der Bass­man. Vol­ume de­pends on the show but tre­ble 5 bass 6.

GT: What strings do you use?

JST: Ernie Ball, skinny top heavy bot­tom. I used to use .011s but the strain of do­ing as many shows as I do ev­ery year it was worth go­ing a step down. Tis the bur­den of small girly hands - new set ev­ery show! Joanne Shaw Tay­lor starts her na­tion­wide UK tour with spe­cial guest Bernie Mars­den on Satur­day Nov 1st at the Nor­wich Epic. Joanne will per­form songs from her crit­i­cally ac­claimed new al­bum The Dirty Truth. Tick­ets can be or­dered from the 24-hour box of­fice: 0844 478 0898, or booked on­line from The Gig Car­tel.

Joanne Shaw Tay­lor: back on the road soon

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