For more than 15 years Tony has been a music industry professional and session guitarist. His vast playing background and knowledge of musical products has given him the opportunity to work and perform with some great bands from Lynyrd Skynard, Nickelback, Duran Duran, Joe Satriani, Warrant and Poison.
Tony writes for the RockHouse Method, the #1 leading guitar lesson DVD series where he hosts their gear page known as the “Gear411.” Tony is also a clinician/product specialist for Blackstar and Korg USA.
What advice can you give to someone who wants to do clinics?
“Be prepared musically, but don’t overplay. Know how to sell the products without bad mouthing other products. It’s also very important to always make eye contact with members of the audience.”
How do you prepare for a clinic?
“Knowing what to say and what to play is the easy part; the part you have to work on is your people skills. You’re going to be dealing with lots of different personalities in many different parts of the world so knowing how to get along with the rep you’re traveling with, the dealer you’re doing the clinic for (along with their employees) is sometimes the most challenging part of the clinic.”
“The clinic attendees are easy because they are there to see the product and get all of their questions answered. Dealing with the customers is always my favorite part because they are all very complimentary even if they don’t like the product you’re selling.”
What is the average length of a clinic?
“It varies but always have an intro, a middle, and an ending. This will make a longer clinic go by faster for the customers attending. If you look lost and are searching for words, they will definitely get bored quickly.”
Why did you change out your stock pickups?
“Growing up all I could afford were entry level guitars and the only inexpensive way to make a cheap guitar sound good was to change the pickups so I upgraded all my guitars with Duncan’s. Wow, it made my pawn shop guitars sound like custom shop gems, so now when I get a new guitar no matter the price, it just doesn’t seem complete unless it has Duncan pickups in it.”
Which pickups do you use and for which guitars?
“I have Seth Lovers in my Les Paul, 59’s in my SG, a little 59’ and Antiquity single-coils in my sunburst Strat, a Pearly Gates Jr. in my custom Tele Esquire, a Custom Custom in my Yamaha Wes Borland hollow body, and I just installed the new prewired pick-guard with a JB Jr., a Duckbucker, and a little ‘59 in my custom reliced Strat – I love lower output pickups because they let the guitar’s personality come through and Seymour has got the formula down for winding vintage style pickups; they are as authentic as the originals and I have had the privilege to play some true originals.”
“For me the guess work is done. Seymour has done his homework so I have confidence knowing that I can go into any music store buy a Duncan pickup and I’m getting the same sounding pickup that comes in a $70,000 vintage guitar that I’ll never get a chance to own or gig with. Seymour Duncan pickups can make a bad guitar sound good, a good guitar great and a great guitar sound like the Pearly Gates have opened.”
How has it changed your playing?
“I respond to the sound I’m getting from my guitar. If my guitar is nailing the tones I grew up hearing, then it helps me with my phrasing, attack, and technique, because at the end of the day we all try to emulate our heroes.”
How would you describe your playing?
“I’d say my playing is like a gumbo, I use a lot of different ingredients to make up one dish. I like melody and simple progressions that take you somewhere. Technique is important, but too many depend on it and forget to be creative and just make some noise. ”
How would you describe your music?
“Alternative, if that’s even a category anymore. My goal is to write music instrumental (or not) that puts you in a sonic space that makes you feel something. For example, Dark Side of the Moon takes you somewhere, Tool’s 10,000 Days takes you somewhere, and that’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with my music.”
What kind of gear do you currently use?
“A lot of stuff, but guitars I keep it pretty straight forward: Les Paul, SG, Strat, Tele, hollow body – The foundation of what most classic rock albums were made with. I use Blackstar amps- the Series One 200 watt head, HT-5, Club 40 and the 1 watt. For pedals I used the new F-Bomb fuzz by Tim Jauernig, the Analog Alien Fuzzbubble 45 is all over the CD as well as the whole line of pedals from the Juliet Collective; if you haven’t heard these yet you are missing out on some seriously good tones! I also am currently addicted to these Dava Jazz picks, Love-em!”
Whose career would you most want to pattern yours after?
What bands or artists influenced you and your career?
“Jimi Hendrix, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Satriani, Stevie Ray Vaughn.”
Tony will be releasing his instrumental EP Noise - available for download May 12th. Here are some quotes from some of Tony’s friends:
Joe Satriani states, “Cool vibe and crazy guitar tones”
Gary Hoey says, “Noise is a collection of guitar tunes with shred, style, melody and taste, but most importantly the compositions take you somewhere, “Circadia Collective”, “Kingdom By The Sea” and “Thunder” are worth the admission, can’t wait to hear what’s next!
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