Greg asked whether or not you listen to bluegrass fingerpicking guitar. Do you?
I love to listen to bluegrass-fingerpicking guitar. I really admire that technique and find it very intricate and fascinating to listen to and try to reproduce myself. A great challenge for all players!
David wants to know, “how often do you use your ’59 Les Paul and are you happy using the Gibson custom shop replicas?”
I rarely use my original ’59 LP except on recording dates. It never goes on the road with me. I will use the Don Felder ’59 LP replica once they provide me with several. I only have one at the moment and it is in my studio now next to the original.It’s amazing how great of a job they did in reproducing my original. Color, neck size, pickups, every single scratch and ding. I’ll use two of them on the road as soon as I can.
Cheryl asked whether or not you recommend a wrist support for beginning guitar students.
I don’t know that a wrist support is needed. My advice is to just build your wrist strength by more frequent practice. If you still have trouble have a hand specialist look at it.
“I noted that you started listening and learning from Chet Atkins at an early age—I was just curious, did you use thumbpicks at the time? Do you ever use thumbpicks? Thanks,” Ed W., Texas
I tried using thumbpicks to be like Chet but found them difficult to master. I prefer to use my naked thumb and no pick to play Chet’s tracks.
Brandon wrote in asking, “What guitar and amp/effects did Don use for Life in the Fast Lane for the Hell Freezes Over tour?”
I used a Gibson ’59 Les Paul reissue and a Marshall 50-watt combo.
“Is your ’59 that you have now the same one you broke recording for Joni Mitchell? If not, when did you replace it?” – Steve K.
No, that guitar had to have a new neck put on it as it was broken beyond repair. I got the Hotel California ’59 Les Paul in early 1975 and have used it ever since.
“Don played lead guitar on the Please Come Home for Christmas ’78 release and I just aquired the test run on a white/cream 7″ disc from Amsterdam. Do you know where this was recorded? Thanks,” Don H.
That song was recorded in Miami, Florida, at Bay Shore Studios.
Urban commented, “I have seen you sometimes with a doubleneck guitar that looks like a Fender twin neck (6+12 string) guitar. Is this correct? I have searched the internet for pictures of this guitar, but I only find […the Gibson model.”]
That guitar was a custom-built guitar that I had John Curruthers in Los Angeles build for me. I wanted to hear what a Fender doubleneck would sound like. I still have it in my collection but really don’t use it.
Julia was interested in how many guitar changes there are in a show.
I make 11 guitar changes during my show.
“I´d like to know if you used a Boss Chorus ensemble in the DVD Hell Freezes Over, particulary in the song LOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE. If not , please tell me which effect pedal you used on it. Thanks”, Eclis (Brazil)
Yes, I used a Boss Chorus on LOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE both in the studio and on the Hell Freezes Over DVD.
Does your reissue LP come with burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups? If not what are they using and do you just use the stock pickups? -Sam W., Alabama
I think that Gibson matched my original pickups to the exact winding ohmage. Sorry, I don’t know [more] about burstbucker pickups.
Rick L. wrote in asking, “I saw your show in Niagara Falls and it was excellent as usual, 4th row heaven. My question, during Hotel California, I noticed you capo the 12 string. Is it standard tuned?”
I have to play the opening 12 string guitar parts on the higher neck of the doubleneck and I capo it on the 5th fret in standard tuning.
Being a professional guitar player, did you ever have to read music? You make it look so easy! -Pete in the U.K.
Yes. I taught myself to read and write music so I could do sessions in the studio. In the old days most sessions were written out by an arranger and you had to sight read very well in order to do session work. We’d record an entire album in a day or two max.
Eric wanted to know: What kind of Burst color is your 59 Les Paul?
My original 59 LP sunburst is a very mellow red/orange burst. It’s hard to describe!
I know you are a big fan of Chet Atkins and wonder if you have ever played with Tommy Emmanuel. -Les S. from Australia
I loved Chet Atkins and had the honor of seeing him play live when I was very young. He was one of my early inspirations on guitar. I’ve never played with Tommy Emmanuel but would love to see him play live one day.
I still can’t figure out how you came up with the overdriven backing line in the song “One of These Nights.” Was that overdrive AND distortion? Thanks for years of enjoyment, Jim P.
Jim, I get this question a lot. It was just a Les Paul and an early 50’s tweed deluxe amp on 10. As a matter of fact, I still use that amp today, most recently for songs on my upcoming CD. I never use distortion pedals in the studio.
Among Steve from Wisconsin’s questions about slide guitar was whether or not you play slide in open tuning.
I play slide in both open tuning and in E tuning as well. One of the best slide players I’ve come across in a very long time is Kirk Lorange, who lives in Australia. He’s a monster and plays in standard tuning with a combination of slide and fretted notes at the same time. Check him out on YouTube.”
Tom from Kansas asked, “Several years ago I bought an old Harmony H79 12-string with a very road-worn case. The guitar is in near perfect shape except where someone scratched “Felder” on the body by the input jack. Could it have been one of your earlier guitars?”
I don’t recall ever owning a Harmony guitar, much less a 12-string version. I would never have scratched the name Felder into the body as I loved every guitar I ever owned and would never have mutilated it that way. Don’t know who would have done that but certainly not me!