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January 2007 Q&A with Tommy Thayer

Jan 07, 2007 | Posted in Q & A Archives

January 2007

Question 1: Hey Tommy, I'm a really big fan of yours. You are a great guitar player and I would say a very good role model. I would like to ask you, say if the planets line up and KISS makes a new album what do you think your guitar solo technique would be? Do you think you will stay closer to Aces solos or would you start your own type of sound?
- Jay Bendici, Toronto, Ontario Canada

Answer: Thanks for the question Jay. The most important element for a guitar solo is that it's memorable, and feels real good. Beyond that, I would say the guitar solos on a new KISS album will sound like me.

Question 2: Hello Tommy. I was just wondering who your favorite guitar players are? I play guitar too. I grew up listening to Eddie, Randy, Ace, Angus and of course Jimi.
- Mario, Chicago, Illinois

Answer: My favorite guitar players are Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page and Brian May. I grew up and was influenced by Ronnie Montrose, Richie Blackmore, Ted Nugent, Davey Johnstone, Peter Frampton, Pat Travers, Robin Trower and Ace Frehley.

Question 3: Hi Tommy, I am in a band called "Ace." Suprisingly, it didn't evolve from Ace Frehley's name! Anyway, we are planning to play an instrumental rendition of "Love Gun" in a few of our shows. I realized that on the "Love Gun" record and on other songs, it seems as if you guys are not tuned in standard tune. Am I correct? If so, could you kindly tell me how you guys tune your guitars? I would love to hear form you. Thanks for your time.
- Kameron, Grundy, Virginia

Answer: Good question. KISS has generally always tuned down 1/2 step from standard pitch. What that means, is starting with the low E string, the low E string is tuned to E flat, the A string to A flat and so on. This is done mainly to add a bit ballsier sound to the guitars. It also helps the singers because it brings the pitch of the song down a 1/2 step. It's not uncommon these days for bands, particularly metal and hardcore bands, to tune down one full step or even a step and a half below standard pitch.

Question 4: Hey Tommy, I was just wondering what kind of guitar and equipment I would need for getting my third guitar? Is there any kind of foot pedals you would also recommend for me?
- Tommy White, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

Answer: I don't know what your first and second guitars are, but your local guitar shop has people that can help you find something that feels right and is in your budget, since you can buy guitars today from $100 to $5,000. I think it's always a good idea to have an acoustic guitar as well as electrics. I have never been big on pedals or effects, because I've seen so many guitar players completely overdo effects. It always seems to take the "pureness" of the sound away, but that still doesn't mean an occasional effect isn't a bad idea.