lifeblood: listlogs: 2009v11n059-news

ig-news-digest        tuesday, august 11 2009        volume 11 : number 059

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] amy interview from gibson guitars  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelop]


date: tue, 11 aug 2009 10:11:11 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] amy interview from gibson guitars

hey folks,

here's an amy interview from the lifestyle section of the gibson guitars website.  you can read it online at


- ---begin forwarded article---
why indigo girls amy ray loves her les paul custom and es-335
ted drozdowski | 08.10.2009

amy rays best known for her acoustic guitar work with indigo girls, but since the mid-90s, when the band started incorporating electric guitar into their stage and studio performances with the album swamp ophelia, shes plugged in more and more.

at that point she began wielding her dark cherry 1968 les paul custom during shows. and in 2001, when she launched her solo career with the seriously rocking punk- and southern-boogie infused stag, she cranked her sound up to 11 with the addition of a battle scarred 1966 es-335 hot-rodded with a bigsby vibrato arm and a third pickup, a five way selector switch, and switches a previous owner had installed to flip the pickups in and out of phase.

when that guitar snaps a string during a performance with her all electric solo outfit, shes got a battered, single-humbucker melody maker of uncertain vintage to take up the slack.

"somebody really carved up the wood on the melody maker somewhere along the line," she says by phone from her bands van en route to the michigan womyns music festival from her georgia home base. "i cant really tell what year it is, but its old and really dependable. i know exactly what its going to sound like every time i pick it up, no matter where i am."

what ray digs about her es-335 is its versatility. "with the third pickup, its got so many tones its unbelievable. i run my guitars through a princeton reverb and a hi-watt lead 30 live, so i can get clean ringing tones and massive distortion." she also steps on a fulltone distortion pedal and a durham sex drive booster when she wants to make a sonic point.

"at home ive got a gibson lancer amplifier thats older and too fragile for the road, so i use that for recording," she notes.

rays love of electric guitars began when the indigo girls were still a club act. "although we played acoustic guitars, we played at a lot of clubs that were either punk-rock and alternative-rock clubs when we were starting out, and most of our friends were playing in loud electric guitar bands," ray relates.

"emily [saliers, her indigo girls partner] and i also grew up listening to the clash, blondie, the b-52s and for me neil young is a real hero. his tone really defines the meaning of a lot of his songs."

the singer-guitarist started her own band as a side project eight years ago when she had a group of songs built up that seemed too gnarly for the indigo girls acoustic guitars and celestial harmonies.

"im mostly a rhythm player," ray continues. "i can play a rhythm thatll really express what the emotions of a song are about. when it comes to playing electric guitar solos, im really just learning, but i love it when it all falls into place, and neil young is an inspiration for me there, too, because his solos are so simple and direct, but sound so full of meaning."

typically ray uses the bridge and center pickups of her go-to guitar, the es-335, with the center humbucker dialed down a little to reduce its bass-heavy output. "what i love about that guitar is the huge variety of tones i can get," she says.

"sound can be really atmospheric on its own terms, and help you put ideas across. sometimes when im writing songs on the acoustic guitar and hit a roadblock ill switch to the electric, and sometimes ill write songs on the electric guitar that ill ultimately play on the acoustic. but for me whats great about the electric is the ability to take my music to a place where the sound can take on a life of its own."

- -----------------------------------------------------------------
this has been a message from the ig-news list.
please send feedback, questions etc to
submissions are welcome - please send these to
to unsubscribe send the appropriate command to
bounce subscribers:   unsubscribe ig-news
digest subscribers:   unsubscribe ig-news-digest


end of ig-news-digest v11 #59

home | appearances | articles | bootlegs | discography | fanzine | faq | fun | highlights | listlogs | official | socs | songs | videos | youtube