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Greigg Fraser

 

"Tech Noir" marks my second independent release of totally original instrumental guitar music. Since first hearing Jeff Beck's "Blow by Blow" album in 1975 I knew guitar music was going to play an important part of my life. Growing up in Niagara Falls, Canada, I took up the guitar in high school and apart from Jeff Beck, was heavily influenced by such guitarists as Johnny Winter, Rick Derringer and Jimi Hendrix. Later influences include Steve Morse, Steve Howe, Allan Holdsworth, Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson. After several years of being involved with numerous vocal oriented hard rock/pop and progressive bands, I launched an original instrumental guitar career in 1992. The result was my first CD release, "Making Waves" which has enjoyed strong support, air play and rave reviews not only on campus, rock and CBC stations across Canada, but also in the U.S.A. and Europe. In particular in Belgium where the song "Light of Heart" reached #3 on Alpen Radio and, much to my surprise, STAYED there for almost 3 weeks!


Interview With Greigg Fraser

Forum:  How would you describe your music?

Greigg:  My music has been described as; "Instrumental Rock Guitar with New Age and Progressive Overtones." I have always tried to incorporate a "pop sensibility" focusing on strong melodies to appease as wide an audience as possible while still delivering strong solos as one would expect from a guitar album.

Forum:  What are you doing musically at present?

Greigg:  I am currently dedicated to the promotion and showcasing of my new CD, "Tech Noir", through live performances and hope to one day influence other guitarists in turn. As well as this CD, I am always involved in outside projects such as session work, orchestra shows, clinics and music instruction.

Forum: Could you tell us a bit about what brought you into music and how you see that fitting in with the other parts of your life?

Greigg:  My mother was a musician...she played violin, piano and guitar, so I was exposed to music right from the start. My older brother sang in several rock bands which really fueled my desire to get involved with music. I'd take my mother's battered old Gibson L-3 and pound away to whatever records we had at the time. The albums that had the biggest impact on me were Jeff Beck's "Truth" and "Led Zeppelin 1." As a direct result of those early years, music has been one of the greatest driving forces in my life. I've always been able to make my living with my guitar, for which I'm very thankful. Currently (apart from promoting my own music) I teach private guitar and bass lessons, work in guitar repair and sales at a local music store, play the odd gig and give clinics on equipment and playing techniques.

Forum: What brought you to the decision to play PRS'?

Greigg:  I recall seeing ads for PRS guitars in the various guitar magazines in the mid 80's and always thought they looked kind of cool, but didn't know a thing about them. Then one day a friend of mine who worked at a music store here in Canada showed me the PRS demo video. (this would've been around 1988) There was Paul Smith sitting on a stool cradling one of his guitars explaining his whole philosophy...the 25" scale, the woods he uses, the hybrid pickup system, etc., and it made so much sense... I knew I was hooked!

Forum:  Tell us about your PRS. 

Greigg:  My PRS guitar is a 1992 Custom 24 with a scarlet red finish, regular neck, moon inlays and a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. Other than refretting my guitar with Dunlop 6100 fretwire and adding parts from the PRS upgrade kit...my PRS is completely stock! Although the flame maple top is not a "10"...it's still pretty nice, and she's been my main guitar since I bought her off the rack almost 8 years ago!

Forum: How did you go about selecting your guitars (what features and qualities were you looking for?)

Greigg: Like many guitarists out there, I basically wanted a "Gibson/Fender" hybrid... perhaps a bit more on the Gibson side of the fence, with the classic book matched flame maple top of an old Les Paul...yet with a vibrato system like a strat. What can I say...PRS was my only and best choice!

Forum: You've done a couple of CD's. Can you talk about your thoughts as you did the recording and writing?

Greigg: Having been in the music business for many years, even though I was usually involved in "vocal based" pop and rock projects...I'd always wanted to do at least one instrumental guitar album in my lifetime. My first CD "Making Waves" was the result of some encouraging airplay and reviews I received from a song of mine that appeared on a compilation CD in 1992. The record company I was involved with at the time had some decent distribution in Europe, and my song reached #3 on Alpen Radio in Belgium! It was then that I began writing and recording enough tunes for a full album. I've always tried to keep a strong sense of melody with my music...a sort of "pop sensibility" if you will. This has so far enabled more people to enjoy my songs...not just guitar players.

Forum: Tell us about any recording techniques you used to get your sound.

Greigg:  I was very fortunate to be able to record at a studio owned and operated by a good friend of mine who's also a guitarist. Three pieces of gear in his studio that really did the trick in creating my sound were the "Sansamp PSA-1", the "Drawmer 1960 "preamp and the "Joe Meek SC2" compressor. We also used my "Johnson Millennium Stereo 150" amp...direct with the built in cabinet simulation and miked up with "Shure SM57" and "AKG 414" mics.

Forum: Can you tell us on what parts of the CD's you used your PRS? 

Greigg: I used my PRS Custom 24 for most of the solos and a good percent of the rhythm tracks. Any "quacky strat" sounds were all courtesy of my PRS, as were all of the slide and E-bow tracks. On one song from "Making Waves" the main rhythm guitar was done with a Fender vintage reissue tele with both pickups on. We then double tracked it with my PRS using the outside coils (position #9). Later during mix down we couldn't tell which track was the tele and which was the PRS!

Forum: Tell us about your equipment and reasons for choosing same.

Greigg: My current live set up consists of my PRS Custom 24 plugged into the above mentioned "Johnson Millennium Stereo 150" amp...with two single 12 extension cabs loaded with EVM's. I also use the "Johnson J12" foot control pedal. Simply put...my PRS through this rig rocks! It's the best guitar / amp combo I've had! My second guitar is a "Steinberger GL4T-A" which is an awesome guitar in it's own right...but I'm currently looking for a second PRS. (hopefully with a "10" top and birds!)

Forum: Do you see any advantages or disadvantages to being part of Canada's music scene?

Greigg: I don't want to sound too negative here...I'm proud to be Canadian and all, but quite frankly there is virtually no market for my music in this country! It's just a matter of numbers... you could fit the entire population of Canada in just 2 or 3 big cities in the US. With fewer people it's impossible to support a wide range of musical styles. In Europe and the states I've had some really positive reviews, sales and airplay. In Canada...I can't even get arrested! However the internet is a big help...no matter where you live.

Forum: What do you see in your future as regards music?

Greigg: I fully intend to keep plugging away! If sales continue as they are I should be able to record a new CD every year or so, and I'm also involved in some other side projects including clinics, session work, jingles and concerts with our local orchestra. I also produce a music instruction series for cable TV called "Guitar Talk" which I'm hoping will be renewed for the 2000 season!

Forum: How can people order your CD's?

Greigg: Both of my CD's "Making Waves" and "Tech Noir" are available through my web site at; http://www.clevernet.net/curlymaple  Or you can get them through "Guitar Nine Records" in North Carolina at; http://www.guitar9.com/