Beat InstrumeNtal - Songwriting & Recording
Beat Instrumental - Songwriting & Recording
This article is an interview with Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick; here are the bits that are relevant to this site:
When did you take up bass playing?
Tom: I started out playing ordinary six string: I had a BB King model 335 Gibson, but the band I was with at the time just couldn’t find a bass player. Everyone we tried turned out a real arsehole, so I thought it might be fun to try bass. I hadn’t been playing guitar long enough to have got that proficient on it.
Rick: He was a good rhythm player for sure, though I don’t remember him playing much lead guitar.
Do you see the use of your ten and twelve string basses as an extension of that earlier rhythm playing?
Tom: Yes, I think so - but I just like the sound of those instruments as well. It’s a never ending battle with amplifiers and strings, especially in the days when we couldn’t afford a new set of Rotosounds every day. I just like the effect of the twelve string. It sounds great. It’s like anything else though - intensely personal. It just happens to suit my style of playing.
You designed the guitar, didn’t you?
Tom: Yeah, it was my idea. I’ve got a Hagstrom 8-string, and that always sounded really good, so I thought ‘why not a 12?’ Of course, Hamer didn’t think it would work.
Rick: Yeah - Tom came up with the idea, but the guitar company didn’t want to make it. They refused to make it. He wanted a twelve string from the start, but they ended up only making him a ten string ‘cos they felt it was going to be a joke anyway: but then they heard it and loved it, so they quickly made him a twelve string.
How much more difficult is it to play?
Tom: Well, it doesn’t bother me, but most people can’t play the damn thing at all: it’s real difficult, physically, because of all that extra tension.
Rick: Well, it’s hard to come up with a new idea anyway. I mean, guitars have been around a long time now, but Tom’s idea is spreading and Nick Lowe’s got an eight string, and is having a ten or twelve made, and Elvis Costello’s borrowed that. So like other people are picking up on it, and I’m sorry to say for Tom that he hasn’t got a cent out of it.
Tom: I don’t care about that.
When you’re using that guitar, do you always play the set of three strings together, or is it possible to miss one or two out?
Tom: I always play all three: there’s no reason for not doing so. I play a lot of chords and a lot of octaves. It’s actually got five pickups on it. One is just a straight mono out, but it’s also got like a quad set up: one pickup for each set of strings, so can conceivably go n a studio and have a different set of strings in a different channel on the desk. It’s a little too subtle for live work actually.
What’s your present amplification set up?
Tom: Right now I’m using like a stack of 100 watt Hiwatts with four 15” cabs - again Hiwatt I think. I also use a Fender Deluxe. I like to get plenty of tone at the top end - so I can almost sound like a guitar, and the Hiwatts just about give me that capability.