The latest “15 questions” feature is with guitarist Jon Rabbets. For the majority of Guitar Jar readers who live in the Bournemouth/Poole area, you’ll recognise him from managing Guitar Mania in Parkstone and he’s well known to be one of the finest guitarists in the South of England. Guitar Jar caught up with Jon to quiz him on his guitar equipment, technique and any projects he’s currently involved with…
…I try to play every day, I practice with a metronome and work on alternate picking and sweep picking as these techniques can become sloppy if not practiced frequently…
- Hi Jon, before we get into the details of your equipment and technique, can you give Guitar Jar readers an insight to why you first picked up the guitar and how long you’ve been playing?
Hello Guitar Jar, I first picked up a guitar at 8 after seeing back to the future when Michael J Fox stands in front of that massive amp he hits one chord and blows it to pieces, I was like wow that’s cool I have to play guitar, I didn’t really take it seriously until I was around 15 though so I’ve been playing about 17 years.
- In the first few years in learning the instrument, which guitarist(s) were you influenced by the most and why?
When I first heard Eddie Van Halen I realised time to learn this thing properly, I loved the way Eddie just seemed to pull an amazing solo out of nowhere, After Eddie I discovered Joe Satriani who was a huge influence on me.
- How long have you been working at Guitar Mania? What is your role in the company and is there an item in the shop at the moment that you’re tempted to purchase for your own use? (The white over sunburst Strat looks lush!)
I have been at Guitar Mania about 16 years pretty much since the shop opened, I am now the shop manager but I still take care of most of the repairs and servicing as well as sales. Yes the white over sunburst custom shop Strat is lovely and I have just sold my red custom shop Strat so I do need another one, we also have a custom shop 60s Strat in ocean turquoise which is a killer guitar and I’m quite tempted with that.
- Working in a guitar shop must mean that you have the opportunity to try out a lot of equipment before making a purchase. Can you tell our readers what your personal guitar collection is, and out of the guitars you own, which is your “go to” guitar?
Yes I’m really lucky as I do get to try lots of stuff out which is great as I rarely make a purchase I regret. My personal collection consists of: PRS Modern Eagle 2, PRS Custom 24 Artist, PRS Custom 24 25th Anniversary, PRS Custom 22, Fender US Strat quite modified, my old Ibanez Floral jem and a Taylor 414ce acoustic. I pretty much only play PRS guitars now as I have a great relationship with them and really look after me; I’ve been playing them for 11years now. My Main axe is the PRS custom 22 which Chris who owns guitar mania very kindly gave me for 15 years service.
- What amplifier(s) do you use when playing live?
I use a Mesa Boogie Dual rectifier head with a 2×12 cab, I use them set to vintage mode with not too much gain but I boost the front end a little with a Boss SD-1 which Chris here at Guitar Mania modified for me, we now sell the modded SD-1 pedals at Guitar Mania now which I recommend all the gear heads out there come and try.
- Are you a fan of amp/guitar modelling?
I’m an old school valve amp kind of guy myself, modelling stuff is very useful for recording but I don’t really think it cuts it live.
- How often do you practice and what do you focus on to improve your technique?
I try to play every day, I practice with a metronome and work on alternate picking and sweep picking as these techniques can become sloppy if not practiced frequently, I also jam over backing tracks to come up with new licks and work on feel.
- In my mind, you’re a pretty fast player. Do you still try to play fast or has your approach/opinion to playing fast changed over the years?
My approach Is pretty much the same I try and mix up fast playing with melodic playing, I enjoy listening to lightning fast players or the more meat and potatoes feel kind of player I listen to lots of different styles as well.
- Do you currently play in any bands or are you performing at all? Do you get asked often to play in bands etc?
I’m currently in a rock covers band called Supercharger Heaven and I did a solo guitar album a couple of years ago which I occasionally play some of the stuff from that live. I get ask to play with people quite a bit if I’m not too busy I’ll happily play with a band if I like the music.
- Have you had any nightmare experiences whilst gigging?
Not that I can think of, I once did a gig on my birthday and people were buying me Jack Daniels all night which kind of ended in a bit of a nightmare playing wise.
- Your house is burning down. What’s the one guitar item you would save?
Probably my PRS Modern eagle 2
- What album(s) are you currently listening to?
I just got the new Avenged Sevenfold album which I’m really enjoying.
- If you could form a super group using famous musicians past or present, who would you have on drums and why?
Keith Moon – I’d love to work with someone as crazy as that.
- Lager or Cider?
If I said wine would I be considered very uncool?
- What’s the plan for you musically for the next 12 months?
I’m looking for a singer for a new rock band, or I could be tempted to join a band if anything interesting comes up.
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