A chat with TJ of Melbourne rock band LUNG about his Japanese models.
WHEN DID YOU START GUITAR?Late in Year 10 at school.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY GUITAR? CAN YOU PLAY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS?A friend was getting guitar lessons after school, and the teacher said he could share the class with someone for the same price – so he asked me if I’d like to learn guitar.
So we paid half each, I did 2 lessons, I really liked the challenge, and then, decided I’d prefer to learn the hard way - by ear, and on my own. So I went home, raided my brothers LP collection, and started learning to play along to AC/DC and Sabbath.
Seeing I sucked at sport – I thought I might be able to play music instead.
When I got past the blisters on the fingers, and knew a few chords, I decided to see if anyone else I knew wanted to learn some tunes… so I joined a band that was local who were doing Bon Jovi covers.
I didn’t like Bon Jovi, but I just wanted to play music… and as there were already 2 guitarists, I actually ended up playing bass, just so I could learn to play some new songs... it didn’t last long – I got sick of Bon Jovi really quick. I went back to my brother’s album collection and moved on to Dire Straits, Metallica & Iron Maiden.
As for other instruments, I can keep an ok beat on drums, not a bad sequence programmer, and I do ok on bvs
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DECENT GUITAR?A 1991 US Strat … I still have it, it’s had many facelifts since, but it is still a beautiful machine. I played that guitar to death learning Baby Animals tunes.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM GUITAR?That’s a tough one to answer... I’d have a few. A PRS 20th Anniversary “Double” Dragon would be top of the list. And for a single neck – It would have to be a Gretsch White Falcon.
ARE YOU A TUBE AMP OR DIGITAL FAN? HAVE YOU HAD EXPERIENCES WITH BOTH?Tube. Although the fractal stuff is great, and I use an eleven to record basic tracks (for new ideas). Yet, my Ulbrick Stadium 80 and ’76 marshall Super Bass heads are my go to rigs when I want to turn it up and melt some ears. Dave Ulbrick has been great to me over the years - I have a bunch of Ulbrick gear. And Warwicke Newman did a beautiful job rebuilding and modding my old Marshall.
DO YOU USE EFFECTS IN YOUR RIG?Very sparingly. I get most of my grunt from my Ulbrick Rig. I run a few different pedals for dirty tones (currently using an AHM Awesome and an Ulbrick Carnivore). I use a Buddy Guy wah, a T-Rex delay, a TU2 and I bring one of my original WH1 Whammys in from time to time. I have been through so many pedals over the years, I ended up sticking with pedals that did what I needed without too much fuss. I used to run massive pedalboards with a whole bunch of effects... but I got sick of tap-dancing on stage! I would love to be more like John Frusciante, Vernon Reid or Mike Einziger and have a thousand pedals and paint soundscapes - and know how to use them. Sadly, I try and keep it basic so I can focus on just playing... a tad boring I know!
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR GUITARS?I’d always been a strat man... but I moved to Les Pauls through pure requirement (needed a bit more grunt) - so sound is first and foremost. Cost is a factor for sure - I’d spend as much as I could if possible - but, you choose your battles (and budget)! I definitely want a guitar that looks cool - that’s a bonus. And comfortability / playability is right up there - if it doesn’t feel right, regardless of how good it sounds - doesn’t cut it for me.
WHAT GUITAR DO YOU PLAY MOST, AND WHY?My Arctic White early 80’s Burny Les Paul. I am currently running Seymour Duncan Slash Humbuckers in it. It just looks, sounds and feels great. It’s been my main guitar for 10 years and we’re a good team :) My main acoustic is a Cole Clark Fat Lady II. I’ve had that about 10 years.
Burny Les Paul
TELL US ABOUT YOUR Burny Les PaulMy mate Jase recommended I try a Burny Les Paul about 10 years ago (A Japanese lawsuit era copy) when I was looking at trying Les Pauls. So I bought one as it was so much cheaper than a Gibson. It was an experiment as such... and I fell in love with it. It had a massive meaty tone, looked cool as hell too. I am a massive Randy Rhoads fan – and it looked like the one he played. It is still my main guitar to this day. It’s had a few facelifts on the way (I removed the scratchplate - and swapped out the original VH1 pickups). Since then, I have bought 3 more vintage Burnys... They are just great guitars. And for the price, I can own more guitars that play great and sound awesome. I’d gladly put my 2x Burny Les Pauls against expensive Les Pauls in a "pepsi-challenge".