And on the Gibsons?
On the Les Pauls that I have, I switched over
to the Jimmy Page wound versions. They’ve
got a nice, smooth top end, and the bottom
is nice and tight. And my 355 has the same
[stock] pickups that have always been in there.
Some guitarists describe the PRS tone
as a Fender/Les Paul hybrid.
Yeah, I would say that’s pretty accurate, probably
leaning a little more toward the Gibson side than
the Fender. I think they have a unique sound,
a slightly smaller, tighter sound than what the
Gibson is, particularly if you look at a model like
the 245 or the McCarty and A/B’d it against the
Les Paul. I think the Les Paul has just a little more
weight and size to it, a little more growl in the
lower end of the guitar. The PRS has very nice
clarity. There’s an ease in the way you play them.
They do such a great job on the neck.
Well, it’s not a problem for me now, but I
kind of missed it. I grew up that way. Every
Saturday I used to go to our local music
store, Long & McQuade here in Toronto,
and they’d let me play anything on the
wall—usually it was an SG—for about an
hour and they’d they say, “Ok, get outta
here, kid.” And then I’d come back the next
Saturday, they’d let me play for an hour and
then they’d say, “Ok, get outta here, kid.”
To this day when I go into a music store, I
feel like a kid again. There’s always some-
thing I want to buy. Whether it’s a little
effects box or some picks, [laughs] every-
thing that I don’t need! But there’s some
magic about music stores.
Are you the kind of player that
has an emotional attachment to
a particular instrument?
Well, my 335, my 355 and that Tele, and the
first CE bolt-on that I got from Paul Reed
Smith, as well the one I used for most of the
1990s and early 2000s, which again was a CE
bolt-on—which is not their fanciest model.
Those guitars right there are probably my most
important kids, and I wouldn’t want to get rid
What do you look for in a neck?
I don’t really have a preference. The neck on
my 355 is very small, and it was typical of that
era in the early to mid-seventies. The neck
on the ‘Inspired By’ version is a much bigger,
more contemporary neck. I have to say that I
really like playing that neck, too. I don’t like
anything too big or too thick, but what I like
is having the variety. I think there is a tendency to play a little differently when you pick up
any particular instrument.
Tell me about your Howard Roberts
Gibsons—you have a Fusion and a
Standard Howard Roberts?
I started with the Standard Howard Roberts.
Paul Northfield, who engineered Moving
Pictures and a few other records that we did,
had one in the studio and it was just beautiful.
So I ordered one from Gibson way back in ‘ 78
or ‘ 79. And then later that year or the following year, they brought out the Howard Roberts
Fusion and to me, at the time, it seemed like the
perfect guitar. It was a hollowbody, it looked like
an oversized Les Paul, and it had a nice balance
to it when you played it. So it had all the things
that I looked for in a guitar, and it’s still one of
my favorite guitars to play to this day.
Is the solo from “Tom Sawyer” on that guitar?
I think all of “Tom Sawyer” is on that guitar.
I assume you can’t go to a guitar shop
and poke around, is that a problem for
you? Do you miss it?