JEFF The Brotherhood’s Jake Orrall on his custom three-string guitar


[music] My name is Jake from the band JEFF The Brotherhood.
This is my weirdo guitar. It was built- let’s start from there- it was built by Dave Johnson
who has a little guitar shop in his attic, called Scale Model Guitars. Its the 43rd guitar
he’s made. There’s the serial number there. And I guess we’ve got to go back to the beginning.
When I first started playing guitar in this band I didn’t really know how to play 6 strings,
I didn’t take lessons or anything like that. Me and my brother just wanted to play simple
punk songs so I had this really cool Dean Hollywood Z guitar, my first guitar, that
my Dad bought me at a guitar show for like 90 bucks I think. And I somehow broke the
nut and I could only put the 2 strings on there. So I had an acoustic string and an
electric string, both in tuned to the same note and I guess my idea was I don’t have
to tune anything and all I had to do was do that… you can play chords on it. And it was much
easier to learn the guitar that way. And eventually I added the third string to make more complicated
chords to do, you know, stuff like that. And once we realised, once we started touring
as a two piece band, like touring the United States and stuff, I had this sxxxxx Ibanez,
like $200 guitar centre guitar with 3 strings on it… We tried to get like…
Its really hard if its just 2 people, you get a low end beefy sound. I’ve seen a lot
of 2 piece bands with just guitar and drums and you just can’t hear the guitar, all you can
hear is drums. I think there’s two main things. If you eliminate all the high strings you’re
not mucking up the sound, you just get powerful chords. That’s all you really need. If you
want to do some lead stuff you can get up pretty high still. Another thing is you’ve
got to keep that hi-hat tight. You can’t keep an open hi-hat because its just too loud.
I learned that from the Velvet Underground. For a long time they didn’t even play with
cymbals because they just muck up… you know. Don’t give enough room for the guitar to be
loud. We’re all about loud guitars. [music] I toured with that Ibanez 3 string for about
5 and a half years or so, until it got stolen out of the band with a bunch of other sxxx.
Which is kind of sad because… I took the tuning picks out of those, I don’t think you
could sell it or anything. It was a piece of sxxx. It was just a wreck, you know? So
I had to get a… I had just started talking to Dave about getting this, and he had luckily
already copied the neck style. This was like… He had emailed me on Myspace a long time ago
when Myspace was still… He emailed the band or messaged the band on Myspace and said he
was moving to town and wanted to build a guitar for me. But at the time I was broke of course,
so when I got some money we kinda of revisited the idea and started designing this guy. The
neck is basically exactly the same neck as the Ibanez gutiar because I got so used to
playing it. Just with different types of wood and stuff. I don’t know too much about wood
so I can’t really… I think that’s like a cherry wood right? I don’t know… Its black,
its all dark, its got some nice… I don’t know what you call that colour. Anyways, I
always wanted an SG because I think SGs are the most baddass looking shape of guitar, so
I told him I wanted an SG body. We looked at, we just kind of took a stencil of the
SG body and put the neck on it, then looked at a bunch of different head styles and I
thought this one looked the coolest. And it worked really good for having this configuration
of machine heads. This design here is taken from the Firebird also. And that’s taken from
a classic SG pick guard. This was my idea, just to have a chrome plate with just the
input and the volume and that’s it. The pickup was wound by a guy named Lynn is Nashville
who is like a master pickup builder, to have half a pickup, which is one of my favourite
parts of it because its custom. We wanted to get this stuff filled in and recrowned,
but maybe someday when I’m rich I can do that. Dave is also a master inlayer so he did mother
of pearl JEFF The Brotherhood. Another one of my favourite features. My favourite, favourite,
favourite thing about this guitar though is the tuning… The tuning thingies here. I
like to get kind of rowdy, our crowds get real rowdy, we jump in the crowd and stuff
and people jump on stage. When you’re playing just guitar and drums, and if one tune peg
gets bumped and one string goes out of tune – especially on a 3 string guitar – you can’t,
you know, you’ve got to stop the song and retune or its going to sound horrible. So
we got these tuning pegs that tune from the back. And they’re real tight, so you can run
around and bump into everything with them. And you can change the strings really fast
on them too. The just unscrew and you stick the string in, tighten it down and clip it
off. They’re awesome. I don’t even know what they are but I told him that was an issue
and he was like, “Oh well what about these?”. And they work perfectly. Its really cool if
you look at it like this. You can see all the guts. You can look at it from the back.
I was going to play a show naked in this because you can see my penis through the guitar, which
would be funny. This strap is actually handmade too by a company in Chicago called Soldier.
They’re a cool company. Its made out of a seatbelt. This is actually a scrap of xxxx
from the xxxx in Chicago. Dave’s from Chicago, he used to have a shop in Chicago. That’s
pretty much it. That’s the guitar. I just had them build two six string versions of
it for the expanded second half of our set, where it’s two guitars and a keyboard player.
I tune it to drop D, and then the six string ones are drop C sharp. Grunge tuning. [music]

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