Debbie talks guitar
Debbie’s brilliant guitar-playing has been a key part of bands such as Curve, Echobelly, and Snowpony, and in Blindness she is experimenting even more with her sound. We asked what sound she is after.
Sheets of noise, with some good riffs. I like circular melodies and harmonics a lot too.
The other bands I currently play in are kind of 60s Garage Punk influenced, whereas Blindness is a bit more modern, I suppose. I can use lots more pedals with Blindness, and get more interesting sounds and noises.
(Debbie’s other bands include Ye Nuns, and The London Dirthole Company).
It’s a joy seeing you play live, do you improvise in the songs or prefer to keep it all very tight?
Improvise? It’s not bleedin’ jazz! Well, in ‘Broken’ and ‘Confessions’ there are parts which just collapse into noise, so I do change it up a bit there.
The Smith guitar - pic by luthier David Ayers
Debbie talked us through her current music gear.
At the moment my main guitar is a David Ayers custom built Jazzmaster copy/adaptation. I used to use my Fender Mustang, but I find that the Ayers affords me loads of different tones, so that’s fun.
A friend of mine, Perry Pelonero introduced me to David Ayers on Facebook, who is a luthier based in Phoenix Arizona (although I think he may have moved recently) and David said he’d like to build me a guitar for free - I accepted, naturally. We spent a while discussing what exactly I wanted - switchable single coil/humbucker pups, Jazzmaster type shape, Mastery bridge & whammy bar, 3/4 length neck, colour etc and he went ahead and made the best guitar I have ever played. It is called The Smith, and I’ve got the only one in the world.
Ayers Guitar Company, The Smith
The best guitar I have ever played
Debbie’s guitar collection also includes a vintage Fender Mustang which is a child’s size instrument from around 1967, a Yamaha SG1000, Gretsch Chet Atkins Nashville hollowbody, a Washburn D-10 acoustic and her first guitar - a Vox Standard 25 strat copy. She has a Rally 6-string banjo which she uses in Ye Nuns.
As for guitar pedals, they’re multiplying!
I use a load of pedals - in fact the collection has grown since I started in Blindness. It used to be just four - overdrive, distortion, chorus & wah, but I’ve added more and bought a proper pedalboard to house them.
Currently she is using several distortion pedals including a Turbo Rat, and other pedals such as a Ditto Looper and Mooer Shim Verb.
Mooer Audio Shim Verb
Reverb pedal with three modes
Debbie’s amps include a vintage Vox AC15, a Simms Watts ‘Ike Isaacs’ tube Jazz combo (precursor to Marshall), and a Laney 90W tube combo.
She also has a raft of studio and recording software and hardware such as Presonus Studio One 3 Professional DAW with Vis and Melodyne plug-ins, a Presonus AudioBox iTwo audio interface, Positive Grid Bias amp modeller, Addictive Drums 2 / Addictive Keys and IK Multimedia Amplitube.
We ask Debbie who inspired her.
Lots of people. Viv Albertine, Rowland S. Howard, Andy Gill, Kevin Shields, Joan Jett, Poison Ivy…. the list is literally endless.
Boss Super Chorus CH-1
Clear clean chorus with stereo effect
Pro Co Turbo Rat
A classic distortion pedal, now with more ‘Turbo’.
TC Electronic Ditto Looper
Compact loop pedal
TC Electronic Spark Booster
Pedal for a big boost and tone shaping
Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Wah Pedal
World’s best-selling pedal
Mooer Audio Cruncher Distortion
High gain distortion