A minute’s all it takes to find out what makes a great gui­tarist tick. Be­fore he jumped into his limo for the air­port we grabbed a quick chat with Bri­tish blues sen­sa­tion Danny Bryant.

Guitar Techniques - - INTERVIEW -

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

DB: There was al­ways good mu­sic around the house when I was grow­ing up. I re­mem­ber my par­ents had a VHS tape of Eric Clap­ton from one of his blues nights at the Royal Al­bert Hall. That re­ally was the first thing to catch my in­ter­est.

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

DB: I just wanted any­thing that was Strat style. But my first guitar was an Encore.

GT: What was the sin­gle best gig you ever did?

DB: l have played some big fes­ti­vals along­side some of my he­roes but usu­ally I find the real magic hap­pens in those in­ti­mate sweaty club gigs. Es­pe­cially af­ter you have been out on the road for a cou­ple of weeks and every­body is fir­ing on all cylin­ders. I couldn’t pick just one but I have some great mem­o­ries from all the tour­ing that we have done so far.

GT: And your worst play­ing night­mare?

DB: I think the hard­est gig that sticks out in my mind is, af­ter al­ready hav­ing been on the road for about seven weeks we had a 15-hour flight to China and then had to go straight to the first show. I was back­stage about 10 min­utes be­fore, with a the­atre full of peo­ple and I was warn­ing the band about not drink­ing the tap wa­ter... be­cause we didn’t want any­one to get sick. Lit­er­ally as I fin­ished say­ing it a wave of nau­sea swept over me and there I was puk­ing. We made it through the show though!

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

DB: Play every note with feel­ing. If it doesn’t have emo­tion be­hind it, then it doesn’t mean a thing.

GT: Do you still prac­tise.

DB: Yes I do. But it’s not re­ally a con­scious thing. It’s just that I love to play so I still pick up the guitar for a good while every day be­cause I still like just noodling along to my favourite al­bums.

GT: Do you have any kind of pre-gig warm-up rou­tine?

DB: Not re­ally. I al­ways have a guitar on hand back­stage and it’s gen­er­ally a case of just hit­ting a few licks five or ten min­utes be­fore we go on.

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

DB: I think I would just have Muddy Waters’ band from the ’50s. I would be Muddy’s guitar tech!

GT: Present com­pany ex­cepted (and not­with­stand­ing the stu­pid­ity of the ques­tion!), who’s the great­est gui­tarist that’s ever lived?

DB: From a blues per­spec­tive I would have to say BB King. He wrote the book on modern elec­tric blues guitar. Ev­ery­thing about him was per­fect; tone, phras­ing, ev­ery­thing. Go on YouTube and watch BB King Live at Sing Sing prison.

GT: Is there a solo by some­one else that you re­ally wish you had played?

DB: Al­bert King, Born Un­der A Bad Sign - it’s killer!

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

DB: I recorded a track with the great Bernie Mars­den called Just Won’t Burn a lit­tle while back. I am proud of that. I think we both put a lot of emo­tion into that song.

GT: What would you most like to be re­mem­bered for?

DB: I think just to be re­mem­bered is a pretty cool thing. I hope peo­ple come away from my shows know­ing that I al­ways gave 100 per­cent of what I had.

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

DB: I use Fen­der Ex­tra Heavy cel­lu­loid picks. I have used the same ones for as long as I can re­mem­ber. Any­thing else now and I just don’t feel like I can achieve the amount of at­tack in the notes that I want.

GT: You have to give up all your ped­als but three; what are they?

DB: I am not much of a pedal guy re­ally. I use a two amp set-up so I have a Black­s­tar HT50 and a Fen­der Twin. All I have on the floor is an A/B box to switch be­tween amps, a Boss DS-1 (which I only use with the Twin) and a Cry­baby wah. So three ped­als to me is a lux­ury!

GT: Do you play an­other in­stru­ment well enough to be in a band? And have you ever done it?

DB: No, I’m afraid guitar is my limit. I keep promis­ing my­self I am go­ing to learn some blues harp but every time I put an al­bum on to try and steal some licks, I hear some­thing the guitar player is do­ing that I can’t do and I am straight back to the guitar. It’s a never end­ing jour­ney.

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

DB: No! Ac­tu­ally, I just put to­gether a nine-piece big band for some shows and I was the only guy on­stage who couldn’t read mu­sic. Luck­ily they were my songs we were play­ing, so I got by!

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

DB: Yeah, I be­lieve that they do. I think it is kind of point­less if you spend years work­ing on your tone, find­ing the right com­bi­na­tion of amp, guitars, string gauge etc (the list is end­less). It seems fu­tile to hook it all up with a crappy cable. I use Elixir ca­bles.

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

DB: I wouldn’t call it jeal­ousy, but there are so many play­ers that I’m in awe of. BB King, Otis Rush, Fred­die King, Al­bert Collins, Wal­ter Trout, Bernie Mars­den, it goes on and on. I fi­nally got around to see­ing Jeff Beck live and it is ridicu­lous how good he was. Okay I guess I was a bit jeal­ous!

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

DB: My dear old dad bought me a lim­ited edi­tion Cus­tom Shop ’59 Stra­to­caster last sum­mer shortly be­fore he passed away. I don’t let that guitar out of my sight! I am lucky to have a few other favourites that I would run to rescue. A BB King Lu­cille, a ’74 Stra­to­caster and the pro­to­type of my Fret-King sig­na­ture model that Trev Wilkin­son made for me.

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

DB: For a long time I used just Mar­shall amps. But a cou­ple of years ago the folks at Black­s­tar ap­proached me and I started us­ing the HT-50 heads. I have not looked back since. I think their amps are pretty in­cred­i­ble and the at­ten­tion to de­tail they put in is re­mark­able. I use that amp and for cer­tain shows I pair it with a black­face Fen­der Twin for a dif­fer­ent flavour.

GT: What kind of ac­tion do you have on your guitars - andy par­tic­u­lar quirks?

DB: No, I guess you would call my set-up fairly stan­dard. I don’t want a su­per low ac­tion, I like to have to fight the guitar a lit­tle bit. But equally I try not to make things too hard on my­self.

GT: What strings do you use?

DB: I use D’Ad­dario 10-46. Ac­tu­ally for a long time I used 11s but we do a lot of tour­ing and I just found that I needed some­thing a lit­tle eas­ier on my fin­gers for those long pe­ri­ods on the road. But I find that I can still achieve the tone I want with a lighter gauge of string.

GT: What are you up to at the mo­ment?

DB: I have a dou­ble live al­bum com­ing out on April 21st this year. It’s called BIG! We recorded some shows in Europe with a nine-piece big band (full horn sec­tion, keys etc) and the results came out great. We will be tour­ing through­out the year with both the big band and my reg­u­lar trio. Do come and see us!

mY par­ENTS haD a vIDEO Of ErIC Clap­TON aT ThE r.a.h. ThaT waS ThE fIrST ThINg TO CaTCh mY IN­TEr­EST

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