Marco Noto

Groove Management

Why I Love Fender Guitars and "Picking"

A quick post for Friday afternoon. I've always been a Fender fan. I don't really play guitar, but if I did it would be a Fender. Probably a Strat, but there's a place in my heart for the Telecaster too. Heck, who am I kidding, I'd want a vintage Esquire as well.

Last night, during pack up and load out from a gig I had a flash of Satori (enlightenment) and I realized why I've always been partial to the "Fender Sound." It's those bright, thin single coils! Most of my guitarist friends are obsessed with getting a full, thick sound from their amp and guitar, but I have a different take--go thinner!

There's a lot going on from a sonic perspective on a stage, and sometimes rhythm instruments (thinking keys, guitar and bass here) step on each other and create a smeary, sonic mess. That nice full, thick sounding guitar can sit in the same sonic space as the keys, and the keyboard's left hand can conflict with what the bass player is doing. The standard Fender single coil has a decided advantage in this situation--besides being able to take the paint off of stuff with its percussive attack, the sound naturally sits in a vacant slot in most mixes.

And, while we're on this topic, maybe less is more when playing rhythm guitar? I love guitar players who pick rhythm instead of always strumming. There's little better in this world then when I get to play with a guitarist who interacts with my drumming in a percussive way--couple this with a great bass player and it's a peak life experience.

I suspect my Gibson-playing friends may disagree with me on this, but I think the sound of a Fender guitar works better for bands that have a keyboard player or who aren't doing guitar-based, power trio material. Guitar allegiances aside, musicians need to be very conscious of how they "sit" in the overall mix when performing live--especially when there's no sound man to work the EQ to help clean things up.

Listen, listen and listen some more. The best musical advice I've ever been given.

What's your opinion?