Warmoth loves the artists and players that use our products. One glance around our Warmoth Stars page and you'll see some of our good friends that are rocking our stuff on some of the biggest stages around the world.
On any weekend, you'll probably find even more artists play smaller stages all over the world. Artists like New York based Singer/Songwriter Lijie Yang. She's a musician in the trenches. Battling it out to let her music be heard. And just like the big names, she needs high quality gear designed for her specific needs that she can rely on night after night, gig after gig.
Warmoth Guitar Products was there to help her design her own 7/8 S-Style body and custom neck.
Warmoth: Hi Lijie. You’ve been playing music since you were little, but what got you into playing music initially?
Lijie Yang:As a little girl in China I had always loved to sing, story-tell and perform for people. When we came to the U.S. and my Dad got his first job in Washington, my parents thought it would be good if I learned an instrument.
I tried viola for a few months and sounded terrible. Then I began piano lessons and took lessons for about five years.
Warmoth: What made you want to learn to play the guitar?
Lijie Yang: It's easier to carry than a piano. (Laughs) A college roommate had a guitar, and she never played it. I wrote a song on it, but had no idea what chords to play behind the melody.
And then there was a huge wave of talented female musicians, (Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, Sheryl Crow, Paula Cole...). They were so inspiring. Especially Jewel. She really inspired me to play guitar and write songs.
Warmoth: You mentioned moving from China to Washington State. But you've have quite a few other moves as well. Can you tell us a little about your musical journey that includes China, Los Angeles (LA), San Francisco, Washington State and now New York? Let me know if we missed any, (laughs).
Lijie Yang: Yes...a lot of travelling and moving...As a musician I have to tour, and have been blessed to be able to play music in China, England, and Taiwan.
After college (and college was when I realized I needed to follow my heart and pursue music), I moved to LA and was there for about two years. During the time in LA I met some talented musicians and a wonderful producer who helped me record my first album.
Warmoth: That was "Roam" correct?
Lijie Yang: Yes, Roam. It was not an easy process. I had to work with many people before finding the right team. And of course there was the songwriting.
Living in LA really challenged me, and Roam was the final result. So it was all for a good cause. The album was finished!
Warmoth: What prompted you to leave LA after that experience?
Lijie Yang: Good question...I love California, but at that time LA did not feel like home. It was the first place I had lived where I knew very few people. And although I made some great friends, I did not feel tied to the city.
Warmoth: Eventually you found your way back to the Northwest. Was "The Music Maker" recorded in the Seattle area?
Lijie Yang: After LA I spent time in Washington, and then moved to San Francisco, then back to Washington. And then went out to Boston for music school. The initial recordings of The Music Maker began in Boston, but it was finished in LA and also in my parent's home in Washington.
Warmoth: Wow! That's quite a spread out album. Did you play any of the guitar on the album?
Lijie Yang: Yes it is quite a spread. And yes, I do play guitar on the album! Owen Ross (a very talented guitarist I met in Boston) plays guitar in the beginning of the song "Time." But because of budget and time-constraints, the rest of the guitars I tracked.
Warmoth: There are a lot of pictures on your web sites of you with a guitar. Do you play a lot of guitar live?
Lijie Yang: Since moving to NYC I almost always play guitar and only guitar.
Warmoth: Do you mostly perform with a band or solo?
Lijie Yang: As of now, solo.
Warmoth: Is the guitar you had built with Warmoth parts treating you well out there on the road?
Lijie Yang: Yes, I love it. I feel so lucky to have a guitar that fits me and sounds awesome. I've been meaning to paint it but don't want to mess with it right now. (Laughs)
It's a 7/8 Strat [Warmoth actually calls this a 7/8 S-Style], chambered body. Very light weight, which is great if you gig a lot or play long sets. It's natural in color, unpainted, with a pearl white pick-guard. It has Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups. And even though I usually plug in direct to the PA, it sounds great.
It has a soulful voice, and it has a cool bluesy voice and can also rock too. Wow, this guitar sounds like a person. (Laughs). I have a simple pedal setup. Tuner, loop, delay and go directly into the PA.
Warmoth: Interesting. Gear is fun because it's as individual as the player. Especially the instruments. Speaking of which, will you tell us about working with Warmoth to spec out the custom body and neck for your guitar? What was it like?
Lijie Yang: Warmoth was very helpful and patient. Which was exactly what I needed because this was my first custom guitar. I went in knowing almost nothing about wood, frets, guitar size...
I spoke with a few different Warmoth reps, and John, (one of Warmoth’s expert sales staff) could tell I wasn't sure what to order, so he invited me to check out what different woods looked and sounded like. That was incredibly helpful!
Check out the wood options Lijie’s talking about here!
Warmoth: You also chose to go with a 24" scale length neck, normally designed for the Mustangs or Jaguars.
Lijie Yang: I can't recall if someone suggested it, but that's what my Strat has so I must've chosen it at some point.
Warmoth: A lot of people may not know that you can use those necks or the 7/8 necks on our 7/8 bodies to get the standard 24-3/4" scale length, or the shorter 24" scale on a Strat or Tele body.
Lijie Yang: I'm glad that it's possible! And hopefully people will read this and see that they have that option.
Warmoth: What made you choose to call Warmoth to begin with?
Lijie Yang: When I first began electric guitar shopping, I asked some of the guitarists at Berklee and the name Warmoth came up a few times. Being a music school student, I was on a tight budget and went with a different guitar.
After moving to Seattle, I met a fantastic guitar player (Danny Godinez) and took lessons with him. After a few months of lessons, Danny said something to the effect of, "Lijie, have you thought about getting a new guitar? I think it's time."
I began shopping around, and knew that size and weight were important factors to me. You can always change pick-ups and get pedals/amps to alter tone, but the guitar itself would stay the same. The name Warmoth kept coming up, and next thing I knew I was calling you guys and the guitar-building process began.
Warmoth: Well we're glad you did. Your last album "The Music Maker" came out a couple years ago. Any plans to be working on a new album any time soon?
Lijie Yang: Absolutely! I've been writing a lot and recording some scratch tracks. I also was fortunate enough to meet a really talented producer in NYC, and we are working on a song remix.
Warmoth: What else do you have going on musically right now? Let the Warmoth community know what you're up to, where you can be found, and where you're playing.
Lijie Yang: I perform a few times a month throughout NYC! I was also recently invited to perform at the Cape May Music Conference, which takes place in New Jersey in March. And LAUNCH 2013, which is a music festival that takes place in Lancaster, PA in April.
You can check out my music at the following links:
http://lijie.bandcamp.com/ (FREE DOWNLOAD)
They can also visit my FB fan page
Warmoth: Well thank you very much Lijie. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with us about your instruments and career.
Lijie Yang: My pleasure!