sixty sec­onds with...

A minute’s all it takes to find out what makes a great gui­tarist tick. Be­fore he jumped in his limo for the air­port, we grabbed a quick chat with lap side gui­tarist ex­traor­di­naire: Wille Ed­wards of Wille And The Ban­dits.

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

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

WE: Pink Floyd and those amaz­ing David Gil­mour so­los. I re­mem­ber be­ing trans­ported to another place and hav­ing goose bumps all over. It wasn’t till I got older that I re­alised that he used many lap steels for the so­los and this may have been why I was drawn to the elec­tric lap steel and Weis­senborn gui­tars.

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

WE: A white Fender Strat that Hen­drix used to play, but my par­ents couldn’t af­ford it so I had to make do with an old acous­tic that I used to try and play like an elec­tric, hence my style still to this day is to over­drive my acous­tic and get it to sound like an elec­tric, cre­at­ing a big­ger sound with open tun­ings etc.

GT: The best gig you ever did?

Open­ing for Deep Pur­ple in Paris. We got a stand­ing ova­tion and an en­core which has never hap­pened to a sup­port act at one of their shows be­fore, ap­par­ently. And also, from that op­por­tu­nity, Don Airey of­fered to play on our new al­bum which we are all su­per stoked about.

GT: Worst play­ing night­mare?

WE: I was sit­ting down play­ing lap steel, the stool got stuck in the gap in the stag­ing and I fell off the back of it. From that day on I al­ways in­spect where I place my stool.

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

WE: That the song is al­ways the most im­por­tant thing and gui­tar so­los have to have a melody that harks back to the song or is an ex­ten­sion of it; it has to com­pli­ment the melodic ar­range­ment.

GT: Do you still prac­tise?

WE: Al­ways. You can never stand still. I’m al­ways look­ing for new in­spi­ra­tions, be it dif­fer­ent tun­ings, dif­fer­ent slide gui­tars, dif­fer­ent tech­niques; or just jam­ming with dif­fer­ent mu­si­cians can bring out a dif­fer­ent side to your play­ing.

GT: Do you have a pre-gig warm-up?

WE: Mainly it’s just to re­lax, do some vo­cals warm-ups and a few noo­dles on the gui­tar.

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

WE: Drums, Michael Barker; bass, Danny Thompson; gui­tar, Jeff Beck; keys, Don Airey; vo­cals, Chris Cor­nell; gui­tar and vo­cals, me.

GT: Great­est gui­tarist ever?

WE: Derek Trucks

GT: A solo you wish you’d played?

WE: High Hopes by Pink Floyd

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

WE: A 14-minute in­stru­men­tal called An­gel. I wrote it for my mum when she passed away. I say ‘wrote’ it, but it just hap­pened; it was just let­ting out all the emo­tions in the most dif­fi­cult pe­riod of my life.

GT: Do you have a type of pick that you can’t live with­out?

WE: I only use my fin­gers to play as I pre­fer the slower at­tack.

GT: If you were al­lowed only three ped­als, what would they be?

WE: Stereo Pan Pedal - it means I can blend my acous­tic sig­nal and over­driven amp sig­nal to­gether. Roland RE20 Tape Echo, I just love the sound of tape sat­u­ra­tion and it has that al­most time­less tone which I adore. Ibanez Tube Screamer gets that beau­ti­ful valve over­drive which is a cor­ner­stone of my sound.

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

WE: I can play a bit of pi­ano and trum­pet but would never want to be caught on stage do­ing ei­ther.

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

WE: I must have learnt to read when I played the trum­pet age 12, but I learnt gui­tar us­ing tabs and by ear, just lis­ten­ing to play­ers’ sound and feel and try­ing to repli­cate it.

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

WE: Mr Derek Trucks - that guy can make the slide gui­tar weep and his touch is the envy of many play­ers.

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

WE: My An­der­wood Elec­tric Weis­senborn that I helped build with An­der­wood gui­tars. It has a ma­hogany body, koa top and, like a Weis­senborn, is hol­low through the neck. It stays hol­low througout the body and un­der the pick­ups. This gives in­fi­nite sus­tain and with Dun­can clas­sic ’59s it pro­duces those never-end­ing notes which you want from an elec­tric lap slide.

GT: Favourite amp and set­tings?

WE: A Wear­ing amp made by a builder in Devon called Richard Wear­ing. Th­ese amps are 10w and full valve warmth. There is no EQ, just roll it up to 5 and you’re away as the sound breaks up on 2. I don’t al­ways have the op­por­tu­nity to play through it live, but Richard and I are tweak­ing a few things and it should be ready for re­tail soon.

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

WE: It’s a high ac­tion on my Guild acous­tic as I play bot­tle­neck and don’t want to clip the fret­board. On my lap slides there is no ac­tion, just a big big gap and no frets.

GT: What strings do you use?

WE: D’Addario pho­spher bronze light gauge (12-53). Even through the amp it gives a thick warm tone. How­ever, I al­ways re­place the high E gauge 12 with a 16 on my lap slide gui­tars, which does mean it’s wound tight, but it gives more sus­tain and a smoother at­tack.

GT: What are you cur­rently up to?

WE: We are two weeks into our two-month Euro­pean tour pro­mot­ing the forth­com­ing re­lease of our new al­bum, Steal. We are plan­ning more tours in UK and most of Europe, Aus­tralia and In­dia next year with also talk of a de­but USA tour. I have just pur­chased a Sty­mon Time­line which is fun, so look out for some big at­mo­spheric slide so­los!

i can play a bit of pi­ano and trum­pet but would never want to be caught on stage do­ing ei­ther

Matthew Brooks, Wille Ed­wards and An­drew Nau­mann of The Ban­dits

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