Tag Archives: Brian Setzer
Posted: October 12, 2011
King of rockabilly Brian Setzer recently chatted with Guitar Aficionado about his instrumental masterpiece Setzer Goes Instru-Mental and all the gear he used to record it.
“I didn’t start off wanting to do a purely instrumental record,” Setzer tells Guitar Aficionado. “When I started writing songs for this record, I quickly completed six or seven songs with vocals. All of a sudden, I started fooling around with the melody chords that became the foundation for my version of ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky.’”
“Blue Moon of Kentucky” is the opening track on the album, which was released in April 2011. It is one of a handful of covers featured on the record, complementing Setzer’s masterful rockabilly/jazz-infused originals.
Setzer recorded the tracks almost entirely on his signature model Gretsch and Gretsch Hot Rod guitar, and tells the magazine that the Gretsch tone can’t be beat.
“For the rockin’ stuff, I’ve never been able to beat that Gretsch tone,” he told Guitar Aficionado. “I bought my first Gretsch 6120 when I was a kid. When I plugged it into my Bassman amp I went, ‘There it is!’ That was the sound I was looking for.’”
Posted: June 3, 2011
After recently gracing the cover of Guitar Player, Gretsch signature artist Brian Setzer got some more coverage from Premier Guitar in their May issue. The feature story covered his bluegrass and rockabilly roots, his new album Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL! and his love/hate relationship with vintage Gretsch guitars.
For instance, he dives into specifics about his longtime companion — a 50-plus-year-old Gretsch ’59 6120.
“I bought it a long time ago from a guy on Long Island when I lived there, and incidentally it’s a really good one,” Setzer tells PG. “Guitarists tend to romanticize vintage instruments, but the old ones are really so hit-and-miss. I rate them ‘Monday through Friday,’ Monday being the worst. With a Monday guitar, it’s like the guy working at the factory started the week with a hangover and a fight with his wife, which translated to a crummy instrument. With a Friday guitar, the guy was in a great mood and was pumped up for the weekend, so he makes a beautiful instrument. That ’59 is definitely a Friday guitar—when it’s in perfect working order, it plays and sounds incredible.”
Posted: May 5, 2011
Rockabilly and Big Band Swing’s reigning king Brian Setzer and his vintage ’59 Gretsch 6120 decorate the cover of Guitar Player’s May issue in celebration of his newest album, Setzer Goes Instru-Mental!
GP quizzed the former Stray Cats frontman about his thinking behind his first-ever solo instrumental effort, and the gear he used to fuse rockabilly, country and jazz into a potent batch of songs.
Here’s a quick sample of what the article offers:
Q: What was your setup for “Far Noir East” which has that great sounding tremolo?
A: Man, I could put that tone in a bowl and eat it. I’m using a ’61 Fender Twin Amp, which, of course, doesn’t have reverb, so I was using the matching reverb unit with it. Fender was really at the top of their game with that thing, and I just love how it sounds. But the Twin Amp does have a beautiful sounding tremolo and that’s what you’re hearing.
Q: What’s the advantage of taking out the zero fret (from his Gretsch Hot Rod)?
A: I could never get along with a zero fret because grooves would wear into it, and then the strings wouldn’t slide over it properly. Even 30 years ago, we would take a chisel and bang those things out. So if you want the original-style Chet Atkins model from the ‘50s, Gretsch still offers it—but if you want to rock with it and have it play in tune, I think my model is the logical alternative. I think about what a 6120 was used for in the 1950s—it was a guys who were trying to play like Chet Atkins. And that’s why the old Gretsches are usually in pretty good shape. Basically we’ve tried to duplicate a ‘50s guitar, but add all the things I’ve done to them over the years to make them rock.
The article also includes a link to this oldie but still rockin’ live performance of “Guitar Rag.”
Posted: December 2, 2010
The Recording Academy revealed its list of Grammy nominees last night during the GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live, which aired on CBS.
Gretsch signature artist Brian Setzer earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance with Brian Setzer Orchestra track “Sleepwalk.”
In 1998, Setzer won a Grammy award in the same category with an earlier version of “Sleepwalk,” which appeared on breakthrough album The Dirty Boogie.
Here’s BSO performing the tune at the Montreal Jazz Festival in June 2010.
We’d also like to congratulate rockers Neil Young and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell on their Grammy nods. Young picked up three nominations for material from Le Noise, including Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance. Campbell’s band will battle Young for Best Rock Album with Mojo.
The winners will be revealed on Feb. 13, 2011, during the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.
Posted: October 26, 2010
Three-time Grammy Award winner Brian Setzer today released his Brian Setzer Orchestra It’s Gonna Rock … ‘Cause That’s What I Do DVD.
It’s Gonna Rock … ‘Cause That’s What I Do was filmed on June 25, 2010, in front of a crowd of 150,000 fans at the Montreal Jazz Festival. The DVD captures the blistering one-hour and 40-minute set performance, and promises to rock living rooms everywhere with the sounds of the BSO’s “wildly eclectic party… [played] with a punky verve whose sheer joy is nigh irresistible” (LA Times).
Since 2002, Brian Setzer has made winter a little warmer with the help of his fire-breathing Gretsch guitar and killer 18-piece big band. He’s played over 120 Christmas concerts for more than 300,000 fans, and sold nearly 1 million Christmas CDs and DVDs.