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Author Topic: Dave's Answers  (Read 4606 times)

Offline jd84mc884qb

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Dave's Answers
« on: February 21, 2011, 05:42:28 PM »

Hi Dave,
Firstly - Thank you for the incredible opportunity you've given us to gain some insight to your music, technique and equipment.

2 Questions:

- What do you feel have been the 3 best decisions you have made regarding your successful career as an artist?

- In the same vein, using 20/20 hind-sight, what have been your 3 worst decisions?

Thanks again!

Hello all from Dave Martone. Thanks for your questions and I will give you the skinny on what I think about it all below!

3 best decisions? Hmmmm

Well, first off would be listening to my father John! If it was not for him pushing me to play classical guitar when I was real young, none of this would be happening right now.  I did not want to play guitar as a youngster. Hell I was only 6 years young!  I was more interested in playing with my Hot Wheels Car collection and beating up my brother! My dad made me play, and I did not want to… He finally got around that issued by bribing me with money! 10 freaking cents an hour! I got rich!

Next decision was to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston Mass.

I was dedicated to go there. Even after I got turned down for an initial scholarship, I drove right to Berklee and had a meeting with the scholarship committee, found out what they wanted to hear, and went home to re-record a new submission that was accepted!

I was able to play before I entered the musical halls of Berklee, but it was here that they gave me an understanding of what I was doing, how I was doing it, and what I should do next!

I met tons of great people there teachers and students included~!

The 3rd would be to know when to stop doing this for free in this business. Everyone says…”It will be great exposure!!”

Yes, you can do that for a certain amount of time, but you need to know when and for what you need to start charging for your services.

I find this very important and once it is in place, and you are moving forward with your carrier, the sky is the limit in regards to your gumption to succeed!

My 3 worst decisions.

One of the biggest ones was weather to stay in Boston after I graduated or head to Vancouver to hang with my girl that I met there over the summer.

I toiled with that decision for a while. I already had my 1 year work visa in effect for the USA. Side note… It’s quite hard to work legally in the USA if you are from another country.

I decided to head to Vancouver. Now… I do not regret this decision, because many great things have happened to me once I moved there… the first was doing clinics for Parker guitars, but I always wonder what it would have been like if I had stayed.

For sure one was buying a used Dodge Shadow Turbo car. I bought this little sporty car years ago to get me to gigs! This Freaking thing was always in the repair shop costing me $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

I actually wanted to take a sledge hammer to this thing! I finally gave it to my mechanic and he gave it to his kid… After some time went past, I asked him how his son was enjoying the car… He said it was costing him so much in repairs he just put a bullet in it!!

Lastly in 2004 I toured with 3 Doors Down as a replacement for Chris Henderson. I was his sub in case something went down.  I worked hard to be prepared for this gig and I was. What I am talking about is following through with the connections made.  I had a taste of what it’s like to tour in a big band, and really wanted to grasp more of that.  Don’t get me wrong, I kept in contact with as many people as possible for future work, but somehow something was missing there.

Hey Dave,

The decision to pursue a career in the arts can be a tough one. Sometimes it works out beautifully, but sometimes it doesn't... even when talent and dedication are abundant. I have many acquaintances - musicians, actors, writers - who have never broken through despite years of trying.

What might you say to a smart, energetic, and talented young person (no, not me!) who knows this and is unsure about taking the creative path?

Wow, that is the eternal question.  Let me say this, I told myself if by 18 I’m not in a famous band I would re-think my career.  Then at 24 I told myself if I am not making instrumental records and touring the world I would have to re-think my career….

You see where I am going with this…

In all honesty, I really knew I enjoyed playing music, and no one had to tell me to practice, except in the beginning as mentioned, no one had to tell me to do anything in music. I had this passion burning bright and would not take no for an answer. I would just work and play and play and work to achieve whatever goals were in front of me.

We have to realize also that we do not have to be the “BEST” guitar player… etc… but what we need to have is a certain “Voice” or “uniqueness” that will make us stand out from the rest.  People think they have to play the fastest A minor sweep and they will be famous. HA!!! RIGHT!

Understand music is about just that… MUSIC!!! Not speed etc.. Music moves the soul and touches people, If you can achieve that with your music, you will have no problems in having a long and fulfilling career.

Thought this wasn't open until next week... Joy! But mostly want to say that "clean" was the first guitar album in quite some time to get me really excited about guitars again. (So now I tell my wife its all your fault...) almost 20 questions (pick and choose as you like):

* What's cooking: New album? Tour? Parker Sig model?

Thanks for your questions. New album is slowly starting…I have many ideas documented and need to get on those.  I am heading to Europe in the Summer and am working on that tour/workshops at the moment. The main confirmed one is the Schorndorfer Workshop Festival.

We are working on as we speak a Martone Custom model.  It has been talked about for a few years and is finally coming to fruition!

* You've done a few things with Mr. Satriani. Has he expressed any regrets about Ibanez, tried your flys, etc? Just wondering what he thinks about Parkers.

Joe has never spoken to me about Ibanez, but I would imagine he loves them since he has been playing them his whole life.  He tried my Blue Alien Fly and thought that the action was very high on it, and it probably was since it was shipped right from the factory to the venue we were filming these videos for Workshop Live.  Not sure if he has tried any other flys but that’s the info I have.

* Which of your flies is your favorite? What's been done to it? Anything you'd like to try but haven't yet?

My favorite fly is this one… That is blackie or Number one! It is having some issues actually. The neck keeps changing slightly. I think it has something to do with the truss rod. That guitar has been everywhere with me, recorded many of my albums and has even been stolen from me!!!! Nothing has been done to it… Its all stock.


* Any plans for a teaching dvd? Maybe parker/vox could sponsor?

That could be possible. I have been teaching for years, and really am trying to push the live performance more now than teaching! Its time to tour the world!!

* Who are your biggest musical influences?

Number one is my father. I will list them all and in no particular order.

Carlos Montoya
Los Indios Tabharas
Strunz and Farah
Allan Holdsworth
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Gary Moore
Tony Iommi
Tony Macalpine
Joe Satriani
Steve Vai
Greg Howe
Peter Gabriel
George Winston
Dream Theater
Edward Van Halen

* What picks are you using?

Frock 3mm. I have checked out some V picks as well.

* Do your home furnishings match your guitars, or vice versa? Just a little theory I'm exploring...

My home furnishings? Well, I like dark heavy wood and that is what most of my furniture is.   I like my place clean, neat and organized!

* Thanks so much for doing this!


- What is the longest amount of time in recent years you spent without touching a guitar? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months?

Hmmm… The longest possibly was 2 weeks and that was when I had some serious hand issues.  Even in that time, part of my rehab was to play but not using certain muscles ie Barring muscles.

- Have you been offered gigs with established bands? With whom?

I have never been offered gigs with established bands. As mentioned above I did a tour with 3 Doors Down as their sub guitarist for Chris Henderson.

- What are your reasons for not joining a band permanently (respectively continuing to work as a solo artist in the niche instrumental market)?

Honestly I do not have a good answer for that.   It is not like I chose to be an instrumental guitar player. I love playing in bands! Playing with a great vocalist and band is so much fun! Plus I do not have to be in the spotlight all the time!  I really enjoy that!  At this point I would have no problem joining any established band, no problem at all!

- What do you attribute it to, that you've never had a commercial break through like Satriani, Vai, etc.? I mean the talent's there, the music is there. What's missing?

I believe what you mention is true. The world is all about connections, and I have not hit that connection. I sure have tried and come close, but then again, in all respect, I really enjoy doing what I do. As mentioned I did not grow up wanting to be an instrumental guitar player, but it presented itself to me, and I followed it.

- What exactly does your endorsement with Parker encompass? Free custom guitars? Additional payment? Obligation not to play other brands publicly?

My contract does entitle me to free guitars on a pre arranged amount of time regarding the contract.  There is no additional payment.  I have not been told I cannot play other brands publicy, and have used a Strat to play certain songs live.

- When you look at your annual schedule, what percentage of time do you usually allocate to each of these activities: solo album recordings, tours, clinics, teaching, session work, ...?

To answer this is impossible.  It is always changing depending on what I am doing, where I am going, or what deadlines are presenting themselves to me.

Roughly I will try.

Clincs are very low right now, so not much of that, however there has been a great amount of work in the past.

Solo album recordings take some time! Quite some time. I won’t allocate a pre determined amount of time for this… just whatever feels right and when I am inspired to do it.

Tours happen and that is the fun part! If it was up to me I would be touring all the time… I am working at my own promotion which is difficult, so if I am not making the calls or emails, nothing is happening…  I am trying to make this a much larger part of my annual work.

Teaching has always been apart of my time, and in all honesty I am trying to get away from it and make the transition into more of a performer.  I love the stage and want to be on it more often than not.

Session work comes and goes, I might get some emails for guest solos, or doing guitars on some albums, but there is not a lot of that. I do own a studio … Brainworks and do engineer and produce artists in there. That does take up a good portion of time, but only when I have space for it.

Hey Dave,

I'm sure you have owned numerous guitars, and probably still use other guitars for some of your work. What are those other instruments? What advantages do they offer, and what specific things about the Fly have made it your preferred instrument?

Thanks for your question. Yes I do own other guitars and use them quite frequently.  

The advantages they offer are being able to fit the song that I am writing. I see them as being able to bring a certain colour to the song, that is needed.   They each have their own tonal qualities and to be able to fit that into the song, will make the song come to life!!

For example, a song called… “Coming Clean” off of my last record “Clean”

I knew when I was writing that song it would be all done on a Strat in Eb

That is what would make the song come to life. I just knew that without a shadow of a doubt.   Where as another song like “If I was Piano”

I knew that was going to be on a Parker and that would be the instrument that would bring that song to life.

For rhythm guitars in the studio I have used Les Paul’s for their quality of tone.   It is very nice to paint a picture with different colors instead of using the same color all the time.  I see guitars as colors of sound.

The Parker is the main one because it brings out a certain side of my playing that I really love!  It is a unique color and feel and I feel it fits me quite perfectly.

Exercise / Technique
What a great opportunity, thank you Mr. Martone, for making time! I'll open it up with a couple of questions:

1) You are a fantastic and entertaining guitar player. How 'naturally' or 'easily' did speed and great esoteric techniques come to you?

Thanks for your comments!  Speed did come somewhat naturally to me. I do not know why I needed to hear everything fast.  I honestly listen back to some old cd’s I have done and just shake my head going… “What the hell was I thinking!!”

I am finding as I move ahead with my playing that the best thing to do is do what comes most naturally to you…I would work at alternate picking until the cows come home, but am still ont a great alternate picker!  However, using hybrid picking and the rolling technique seems very easy for me.  I think my hands probably just said… “Deal with it dude, you cant pick your way out of a paper bag!!!” and they figured out their own way of making the notes come out.  I do love tapping as well, and that comes from my love of Ed VanHalen. Just an awesome player!

2) I'm a very average player, with good feel for playing lazy melodic leads over traditional chord progressions, but lack speed and variety. Is there a particular exercise or technique that you've found will help average players open up to the next level?

Yes I do!  I find that working on one string first is a great way to help average players open up! For one reason, it breaks you out of the traditional box. It gets you to think up and down the neck as opposed to across the neck. Plus you can gain confidence burning up and down on one string without crossing strings. Think of when Satch, Vanhalen or even Yngwie burns up one string runs! If they can do it so can you! See below 5 different things you can practice! Do them with alternate picking and with legato


Much gratitude,

Can you give us an example of a playing (sub)skill or parameter (like picking speed, legato speed, etc) where you thought you had reached a permanent plateau and then after a longer while you broke through? Do you think you have plateaued at certain skills?

Sure, I would use an example like Hybrid picking rolling. At first I would just use it for pentatonic things…

The way to break through is to use what you have and push it into other things. Once I had it in the pentatonics why not try it for chord ideas! This is how I find new and exciting things!

- What technique did you struggle the most with before you finally got it down?

Alternate picking, and I still don’t have it down!

- What is the minimum amount of practice time you have to put in only to keep your skill level at where it's at?

I would say an hour a day to stay where I am at…

-   There doesn't seem to be a shortage of flashy players if you think of Batio, Cooley, Ferreri, etc., yet they rarely blow minds with their great song ideas. Do you have the impression that there is a trade off between being a very technical player and being a great composer. I mean every hour one puts into the technique could have also been spent on honing ones compositional skills, yet it often seems to skewed to the technical side. What's your take on that?


I can answer that with one word!


Even better…


Thanks guys!

May the tone be with you

Dave Martone