The Sound magazine
JAN 2011 ● Volume 1
Cover photo, 13-page feature
IC: Since it is
officially almost 2011, do you have any this years Resolutions?
2010 was quite a year – toured all over the world with Guns,
and busted butt in-between legs of the tour gettin' things done –
guest solos, producing, collaborating, put a song on Rock Band
Network, releasing a TAB book, and prepped new songs to be released
in 2011. Goals and resolutions for 2011? Every year the goal is to
get done whatever I can, and stay healthy while I'm doin' it. In
particular, I'm looking forward to releasing a few songs - not a full
album, just one-off's, releasing them as I get 'em done.
You've had an involvement in the instrumental guitar community ever
since your very first release on the now-classic underground guitar
compilation, "Ominous Guitarists From the Unknown."
Bringing things full-circle, in recent years, you produced a
fantastic virtuoso guitar compilation entitled, "Guitars That
Ate My Brain." Could you talk a little bit about your
involvement on that project?
BBF: It was 2 years ago, Pete at
Magna Carta had half the tracks and asked if I would finish the other
half of the album. I hired Jeremy Krull to write songs in the vibe of
different metal artists, I co-wrote some, Dennis Leeflang laid drums
at my studio with Jeremy engineering. For Shane Gibson's song Dennis
laid drum tracks at his studio. Then the performers were matched up
with songs, they laid their guitar solos and sent tracks to me, (I
did my solos at my place), then mixing began - I mixed drums, Jeremy
re-amped guitars and mixed music stems at his place and sent tracks
to me, and mixes were completed. I got the rest of the tracks from
Pete and did the mastering. It's a pretty cool guitar cd, great
IC: You've done frequent lessons for guitar
magazines over the years, and even worked as a transcriber much
earlier in your career. Do you have plans to ever release an
instructional DVD, tab book, or anything of the sort?
Man, every year I say "This year I'm finally gonna do
instructional videos..." Been saying that for 8 years, but
there's never enough time with touring and studio work. I have a
bunch of instructional ideas ready to go, just need time, never
enough time... would like to do TAB books for all my albums, but it's
the same obstacle, time time time! Always racing against the clock.
IC: Do you have any advice to give
to aspiring musicians who look up to you as a guitar player?
A quick 10 off the top of my head: 1 - take care of your teeth and
gums. 2 - take care of your feet. 3 - wait for no one, get things
done yourself, now. 4 - it's an endless battle up a muddy hill while
the world throws stones at you. Don't think about it, just keep
pushing yourself forward. 5 - you don't get a 2nd brain, body and
spirit. Treat yours well. Treat others' well. 6 - don't just play
guitar parts on your guitar - play music, songs, include multiple
melodies. 7 - experience all you can in life, have greater stories to
tell in your music. 8 - unexpected things aren't necessarily bad
things. Give up control and learn to roll with it. 9 - bad things are
the push to make touching songs, use them. 10 - forgive your own
mistakes and become a better person. Do good things.
years, your debut solo album, "The Adventures of Bumblefoot,"
has been out-of-print, with original copies sometimes seen on eBay,
selling for hundreds of dollars. However, it would appear that it is
finally available again, only this time with some bonus
BBF: Yes, Shrapnel re-released the album after 15
years, and we added a few extra tracks from a video game I did music
for around the time the album was first released. I spent 6 months
transcribing the album, as detailed as possible. 200 pages of
notation, TAB, fingers, picking, everything the hands do on every
guitar track for every song (the 12 songs, not the bonus tracks)
It's been available since August at my official store at
along with the re-release of the CD, where every CD copy is signed
and $5 is donated to Multiple Sclerosis research.
IC: In the
past, you've played swiss cheese, hands, the infamous "Flying
Foot" guitar, as well as your fretless endeavors. But more
recently, Vigier Guitars released the Limited Edition Bumblefoot
model. Could you tell us a bit about the unique features built into
that signature model, and where you first got the idea to use a
thimble in your playing?
The thimble (metal cap that goes over the finger) started in the late
80s, I was looking for a way to get the notes on the string that
continued past the fretboard. I keep a thimble on my picking hand
little finger and tap on the string with it to get those extra notes.
A good way to find those notes is with simple math. The higher octave
of any note can be found at the half-way point between the note and
the bridge. The fifth above any note can be found at one-third, its
octave at the 2nd third (which is the half-way point of the 1st
third, hence its octave) Make sense? And of course, use your ears!
About the guitar - starting with the neck, it has 24 frets,
it has a 'zero fret', and there's no truss rod - instead there's a
strip of graphite rock going through the neck, and these necks
*never* need adjusting. I've beaten them up on tour, changes in
temperature and humidity, and the things have *never* warped or
needed any adjusting. The body - two pickups, a DiMarzio Tone Zone at
the bridge and a Chopper at the neck, with a 5-way toggle switch -
bridge, bridge split-coil, bridge & neck, bridge & neck
out-of-phase for that quacky piercing tone, and neck position.
There's a Floyd Rose with custom pole pieces that make it smoother,
the bridge is hard against the body so it only bend down, not up
(this way the guitar stays in tune if you break a string). There's a
magnetized hole on the body that houses the thimble. More
Last year we made a
with a gritty black textured finish and a kill-switch.
Your last solo album, "Abnormal," was released back in '08,
and is even available as an instrumental mix through iTunes. What's
next for you as far as solo releases go?
BBF: I honestly
don't know. When I'm touring, the writing goes dry. And there's
plenty of touring planned for the near future. I'm not gonna force
it, just gonna see where things go. Would love to do "How To
Play [Album]" DVDs and TAB books for every album, breaking down
the how-and-why of everything for each album. Maybe I can use those
stems I'm making of the old recordings for Rock Band versions of the
songs, or my own "Make Your Own Mix Of [Song]" where you
can set your own levels and make your own versions of the songs.
IC: You've done various clinic tours and
master-classes all over the world, including appearances at IA's
Freak Guitar Camp, your Live at The RMA DVD, and so on. Now that
you're working with GN'R, do you still have time to perform as a solo
BBF: Because of the touring, life has gotten really
backed up, I have a ToDo list that has about 4 years of work waiting
to get done on it. And I love the studio so much more, when I have
time I'd rather spend it in the studio creating. I got this old house
that I've been slowly turning into a studio over the last few years.
A place where you go to record, but it's like home - a place where
you can live without distractions when you go there to record your
album. Maybe after I get some things off the To-Do list I can think
about doing solo gigs again.
IC: The "Abnormal"
album featured a song of yours called "Simple Days" (also
heard on "Barefoot"), which has one of the most memorable
solos I've ever heard. Do you have any particular process for writing
BBF: Thank you! Usually solos are played
spontaneously in the rough tracks, and I use them as is or tweak them
for the final tracks. That solo was a spontaneous one. It's funny, I
think a lot of the melodic stuff on the album goes unnoticed
sometimes, cool ya pointed that one out.. :)
question… You do a lot of fundraising, through various benefit
concerts, the "9.11" album, and even a portion of your
sales going to charity. What foundations are you most closely
associated with, and what could your fans do to help out?
Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation, www.msrf.org
started by my good friend Ralph Rosa. He was a guitar player and
friend that was diagnosed with MS in 1997. He started a non-profit
organization, with the support of friends and family. We would hold
dinner/comedy events, concerts, and 100% of the proceeds went to
researchers and labs working towards a cure. We did our homework and
found the researchers we believed in, visited the labs, would get
updates on progress. Ralph's physical condition reached a point where
we had to cut back on events and just accept donations. I donate
money from my autographed cds and merch. What can fans do to help?
Just be good to each other, be strong honorable people - if y'all do
that, the world will be a little better. That's what you can do to
Dec 29, 2010