Interviews with Vancouver’s Rockabilly Players-Paul Pigat

Paul Pigat

Paul Pigat is a simply amazing player. He has a series of learn to play Rockabilly Guitar DVD’s/Videos, and tours/gigs constantly, mostly with his trio Cousin Harley

I had the pleasure of trying to learn/cover his Guitar work on Boomchix disc “Surprise, Surprise” (I didn’t join the band until after the disc was released). Just watching him play is a lesson in itself. You can always tell who the Guitar players are at a Cousin Harley show cuz they’ll all be right up front with their mouths hangin open (me included).

1. How old were you when you started playing guitar?

I was about 10 when I started playing. My first instrument was the Standup Bass but it was hard to carry home on the bus at such a young age

2. Who was you’re first major influence while learning?
I must admit I was a bit of a rocker. Hendrix, Angus Young. stuff like that.

3. What methods did you use to learn (Mel Bay, H. Leonard)?
My first teacher was a young punk guitarist who was teaching at the local music store. First tune he ever taught me was a Ramones inspired version of “Ain’t she Sweet” (I think thats a Cole Porter tune?)

4. Did you study theory? Would you recommend learning theory (as opposed to TAB)?
I have a degree in classical theory from the University of Toronto. I think having a grasp of theory is really important to any musician because everything is easier if you understand where its coming from. Being able to read helps as well. It can open up the fingerboard.

5. What part of learning guitar was most difficult? (bar chords, arpeggios, bending)
I kinda think its all difficult at one point. the first time you try anthing its tough. you just have to keep working it!

6. Any advice for someone just starting out?

7. How long did you practice when you were starting? (avg)
I probably did a couple of hours a day. Its all about how much time you have to dedicate to it

8. What was your most memorable session/show? (good or bad)
I try not to think of the bad ones. Musicians don’t get paid enough to not enjoy themselves. If we wanted to be miserable and make more money there are tons of other jobs out there. I guess playing in Torino Italy for the closing of the Paralimpics a few years ago. never played to over a half a million people before.

9. How long did you take lessons for (in years), before you were good enough to play
in a gigging band?
I think I was about 12 when I started gigging around Toronto. I continued to study for many years after that. I still am to some extent.

10. Is technical ability the most important attribute for a band-member? Can you comment on other aspects such as taste, creativity, communication?
When it comes to being in a band, i would say listening, cooperation and taste. Anyone can shred but to make music with other people is a different thing. I also find being friends with your band-mates helps. I’m not into tense dynamics!!

11. Any tricks that you’ve learned over the years to playing, or understanding theory,
learn your arpeggios!!!! it will open up a lot of doors!

12.What does your live working set-up consist of? (gtrs, FXs, amp )
too many to list but I’ve got a bunch of old archtops, a couple of jazzmasters and a couple of teles as my electrics and a handful of parlour acoustics. as for amps i generally use an Ampeg GU12 but have some other older amps that come out of the closet once in a while

13. What new technology have you found useful? (eg. Multi-FX, robot self tuning guitars) I’m a bit of a ludite so new technology kind of baffles me. I’ve done some work with Ebows and Whammy pedals and they are a blast (ebow with a 1930s dobro is pretty cool) I’d love a robot guitar just cause I hate tuning

14. Have you designed or modified any of your own equipment?
I used to build electrics when I was a kid but don’t really have the time or space anymore. I do however buy most of my guitars in pretty rough condition and “restore” them myself so I guess I’ve modified them. on a couple of my archtops i’ve simplified the wiring to be more like a tele.

15. Have you seen any new up and coming players worth mentioning?
I don’t get the chance to see much music but I guess Kevin Breit from toronto rocks my world!

16. What are your plans for the near future? Trying not to Starve!

Gorehound Sound Productions 2009

Check out Gorehounds Roots Guitar Tips

10 Tips for beginners, Live videos, Jam-Along tracks, Forming/Joining a Band


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