Tony Smotherman: conversations with rock house


Tony Smotherman:
My clinics are called “Licks of the Absurd”. The clinic is based on creating other worldly sounds out of your guitar. I show how to create the sound of a harmonizer without any effects pedals or any of that stuff, the sound just comes straight from your amp. How to mimic a Sitar, neat Japanese instruments and all kinds of weird stuff but just with no effects pedals. This is created by how you attack the strings, the notes that you play, where you play the notes at and all the applications for that stuff. I also teach about exotic scales and of course normal guitar techniques but more modern techniques like how to tap without really tapping. People are really getting into that. I spend a lot of time just trying to figure new things out.

part 1

Tony Smotherman:
As far as guitar players there are some guitarist that are doing some really interesting things on the guitar. I would totally say that Mattias Eklundh is an amazing guitar player. His playing is like a lot of peoples I’ve heard. It’s so home grown ya know, and that’s what I really like. I like guys that can the instrument and really create new sounds. Bumblefoot is another highlight guitarist, who approaches the guitar from such a different direction that it’s impossible to sound like him if you wanted to. But probably the biggest influence for me today is the music of India. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking in a blues sense or rock sense, it has nothing to do with the style. I’m influenced by the approach of Indian musicians to their instruments because, that style of music is based upon making your instrument talk. It’s about emoting a sad felling or happy feeling depending on the raga. If you can get the basic concept of how a raga works and what it’s supposed to do. You see an Indian musician or a singer will wake up to different ragas of the day. For instance if you’re an early riser, like 5 AM then you have a particular raga that you start on to start your day and it emotes a particular feeling of inspiration or happiness. If you’re a guy that’s up late, if you’re a night owl then you have your own special raga for yourself. That would be a raga of artistry, a raga of approaching the day in a creative way because you are up late and you are sleeping the part of the day that the whole world is going. Those things influence me, the sounds of those ragas I find really inspiring on the guitar because you can approach that from the blues and from rock and from any other style of music. That to me is the biggest inspiration.

part 2