Total Guitar

“The first couple of years of Thin Lizzy were my school of rock.”


Master volumes save your ears.

We were doing this tour with Deep Purple, and Steve Morse was sponsored by Engl. His tech worked for Engl. Every soundcheck the tech stood right with me and says, ‘Hey, you’re sure you don’t want to try the Engl?’ I’m like, ‘no really, I’m good.’ One night a tech somehow blew up all four of my Marshalls. The Engl guy’s going ‘well, should we throw an Engl up there?’ I kind of had no choice now, but it sounded great right out of the right out of the cellophane. I ended up getting endorsed by Engl for 10 years or something. Then I had a jam session somewhere with Marshalls up there. I fell in love with Marshalls all over again. I prefer the new Marshalls to the old ones because of the master volume. You can get that sound without blowing the audience’s heads off. In the old days, you’d be up to nine on the amplifier, but now it’s like two and a half or three and you’re still getting the sound. I love the Marshall cabs too, with the 25 watt Greenback Celestian speakers. You just can’t beat it.

Find a guitar tech you can trust.

Casey is my guitar tech. He’s a young kid, a really good player, and he knows exactly what I want every night, pedal wise, sound wise, volume wise. Even if there’s no official soundcheck he’ll get out there and he'll make sure that he gets you know some sort of sound check out of those things, make sure everything’s coming through my monitors really pristine. You’re not going to get a whole lot out of me about the details of my rig. I haven’t seen my pedal board for over a year now.

Develop your own style.

It’s always a learning process every time you go up on stage. Hopefully you’re gonna start learning things from different guys who are on stage. They’re gonna do something that makes you say, ‘Holy crap I didn’t even think about that! Hey man, how do you how do you do that?’ or you just eyeball the neck and see how they’re doing it. I don’t think I’ve ever stolen anything from anybody. What I’ll do is take a hint of what they’re doing and apply it to my own style. I think that’s important. If somebody wants to play like me, my advice would be: don’t do it. Maybe take a couple of tips from my playing. Take a lot of tips from everybody. But don’t flat out try to copy anybody.

Find musicians who will push you to improve.

I’m not this real technical guy. I never had a lesson. When I got in the band with Brian Robertson, his father was the second saxophonis­t with the Art Blakey jazz band and his mother was a piano teacher. He knew all the scales and the names of everything. The first couple of years of Thin Lizzy were my school of rock. Everybody that went through that band did the same thing – everybody walked out a better player. It was kind of demanded of you. There was always a lot of pressure to be better, larger, louder...

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Gorham in Thin Lizzy with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus
above Gorham in Thin Lizzy with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus

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