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Julian Lage explains why he doesnt use many effects pedals

Julian Lage live

(Image credit: Andy Sheppard/Redferns via Getty)

In the event that you were to have a cursory glance round the internet searching for Julian Lages rig, youd probably arrived at three conclusions: he uses a significant selection of acoustic guitars and electric guitars, he favors a little couple of tube amps, and surprisingly he hardly uses any effects pedals at all.

How come he opt against utilizing a fully stocked pedalboard, you ask? Well, its probably got something regarding the music he plays in the end, the pure, clean tone that Lage employs for his jazz escapades is up there with the smoothest sounds of most.

However, Cory Wong posed the question to Lage himself in a recently available installment of his Wong Notes podcast, with the funk maestro quizzing the jazz virtuoso as to the reasons hes not in the pedal game.

Since it turns out, this issue goes far beyond surface level questions of tone, and directly pertains to how Lage approaches playing the instrument. Specifically, he says effects pedals hinder his musical choreography, and interrupt the tiny, millisecond connections between him and your guitar.

Needless to say, being truly a guitar lover and admirer for my very existence, Ive always had a fascination with pedals [and] how people utilize them, said Lage. I observe people like yourself along with other friends of ours who take action so intentionally.

There were occasions where Ive gone, Okay, that is it, Im obtaining a loop pedal, or, Im likely to get an overdrive, he continued. And almost every time unfailingly there’s an instantaneous disconnect for me personally where I get baffled. I dont realize why its doing its function.

For me personally, it almost feels as though it requires away the bond between your touch on your guitar and the sound, and my logical brain goes, Yeah, Julian, thats the idea, it changes it.

Its a disconnect that Lage has tried to overcome, but one which ultimately gets in the form of his celebrated design of playing a method that is seen as a an otherworldly grasp of dynamics and phrasing.

Of how pedals affect his approach, Lage continued, Im so disoriented that I go, Im likely to get back to another thing. And another thing is merely somewhat of an obsession using what I believe of as choreography on your guitar.

I believe of most guitar playing as choreography, he explained. Like, in the event that you move a particular way, you obtain a particular sound. If you prefer a different tone, you need to move differently.

And the movement isn’t relegated to the fingertips. Its the complete system. It includes a lot to accomplish not merely with the movement towards notes, but additionally how you log off of things.

Elaborating on what these considerations impact his playing, Lage added, EASILY want something to appear to be it has a bit more space around it, I have to move slower when I come from the note. Were talking milliseconds, its really not just a lot.

However in whatever research Ive done it looks like those considerations affect it greatly, and perhaps because there’s this obsession there the very thought of having other things in the chain I cant compute.

Thats not saying Lage doesnt use any pedals, though. Talking with MusicRadar this past year, the jazz man revealed some of his go-to units, like the Strymon Flint reverb pedal and the Shin-ei B1G.

Julian Lage is defined release a his upcoming album, View With an area, later this season.

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Matt Owen

Matt is really a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He’s got a Masters in your guitar, a degree ever sold, and contains spent the final 16 years playing from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When hes not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for several UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.

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