Interview with session guitarist Chris Juergensen - Hide Iwamoto, Tokyo School of Music

Q: You have been described as the "most famous guitarist that nobody knows about," what do you have to say about that?

A: It's true. Most of the work I have done in the past has been studio sessions so although you may have heard my playing, you wouldn't necessarily know my name or face. I don't even know where half the stuff I've recorded over the years has been used. I've heard myself playing on the local news surf report and on telephone hold music for a bank in Northern California. Lately I've been focusing more on my own music more so than the session work.

Q: Can you describe some of your personal projects?

A: I released my first solo CD, "Prospects" two years ago and my newest CD, "Big Bad Sun" was released on August 1st. "Prospects" leaned heavily to Jazz/Fusion and "Big Bad Sun" is more of a Rock CD that has a big Blues influence. Both were released on the independent label, Abiku in Tokyo. They are both imports in the states. Considering the fact that they are both independent releases, sales have been surprisingly good.

Q: Any advice on recording?

A: Get in and out quick. Every extra day in the studio costs a grand so you have to have it together before you get in. Especially if you are recording your own CD, if you get in the studio and start talking about how you should end the song, you are going to find yourself in financial ruin. My last CD was recorded and mixed in five days.

Q: Five days seems like a very short time to record a full length CD.

A: Considering there are some CDs that take a year to record, five days is light speed in comparison. I personally wouldn't know what to do with a year in the studio; I don't imagine myself very productive without a deadline.

Q: What do you look for in a guitar?

A: Of course playability and looks are important, but above all, tone. I generally use a Marshall or Egnater amp when recording or touring so I use a guitar that works well tonally with those amps.

Q: What are you currently playing?

A: Although I use a vintage Strat on some sessions, the bulk of my work is done using a Warmoth. I've been using it for about 15 years now. The body is Alder with a Maple neck and Rosewood fingerboard. It was originally routed for a Floyd Rose tremolo but I had a standard Strat type tremolo installed years ago.

I like it because I can use it for almost all types of music. By rolling back the tone, I can get a warm Jazz tone from the neck position pickup and the guitar rocks if I turn up the volume and add the right amount of gain. Anyway, I've used it for years and it has been around the world, it is a real workhorse. I'm playing it on the CD jacket cover of "Big Bad Sun."

Chris Juergensen Official Website:

Here is a Chris Juergensen's Sound Bite

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