Personality: In The
Case of Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
by Remin Anuar on 16th-September-2013
What should you know about Ron
his eccentric stage name is that he never actually got infected by
the Bumblefoot infection.
Just a moniker he picked up after reading his wife veterinary-school
textbooks. A highly talented music producer, songwriter, guitar
teacher, transciber, hot sauce entrepreneur and current guitar
player in Guns N’ Roses, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal just won’t stop
creating music. His passion is clearly infectious when you came up
and speak to the gentleman about guitars & KISS. That said, Thal
currently has plenty to discuss and still kind enough to find time
within his busy touring schedule to answer some of our questions.
The double neck fretless Vigier Guitar (DoubleBfoot) really is one
mean/badass looking guitar. Tell me a little bit about it’s design
and how does it suits your style of playing?
Thank you! The Vigier signature “DoubleBfoot” guitar has everything
I need – a fretless neck on top, fretted on bottom, has a killswitch
as needed for newer Guns N’ Roses songs. The pickups are DiMarzio’s,
Tone Zone (bridge) and the Chopper (neck). The 5-way pickup selector
includes single-coil and out-of-phase settings to get variety in the
articulation, beefiness and overtones. I wear a metal ‘thimble’ on
the smallest finger of my picking hand, touching it to the string to
bring out notes higher than those you can get from the fretboard (An
example of this is on You
There’s a small magnetized hole in the lower horn of the guitar for
storing the thimble in it, for quick convenient access. (Technical
guitar info at Vigier
Tell me about your current gig nowadays. Seems you’re pretty busy
touring all over Europe. This current gig is to promote your solo
It’s been eight years since I did a Bumblefoot tour, playing
concerts and master-classes in
Italy, Greece, Albania and Tunisia.
At the end of the shows I’d do some GNR songs, and bring fans from
the audience on stage to all sing together. The shows felt like big
parties, where nothing separated the audience and the band.
You had been a victim of a automobile accident last year and came
out of it alive. Tell me about your recovery process and how it had
affected you as a guitar player?
At first I couldn’t raise my arms. It was three months of physical
therapy. I have a permanent spine injury, it was painful to have a
guitar around my neck. The double-neck is about 15kg. It’s been a
long road to overcome the physical restrictions and the pain.
Since late last year until now, you’ve been busy touring & visiting
in certain parts of Asia (India, Indonesia & Malaysia) you had never
been before. What are your thoughts on these experiences and did you
had any chance to listen & involved with the local traditional
It’s been very rewarding spiritually, and I’ve grown from the
experiences. There’s a lot of talent and depth in these places that
I’ve been fortunate to hear, and would like to be involved with.
I’ve been back to India with the Dubai rock band Point
Of View , I
plan a solo trip to Indonesia in
November, and hope I can visit Malaysia again
as well. I can’t wait to come back.
As a connoisseur of good music and a successful guitar player, how
many guitars you have right now in your private collections?
I’m not a collector, I always played what I had. I only have about
20 guitars. My favorites are the DoubleBfoot fretted/fretless
double-neck, the Flying
and the Swiss
So the news has it that you had formed this badass KISS tribute
band. Tell me about it’s inception and did you plan to record, tour
& performed together with this establishment?
It started with a charity album called A
World With Heroes, a KISS tribute album raising money
for cancer charity. I recorded a version of “Detroit
Rock City” for the album, I sang and played, with Brian
on drums and Rex
on bass. People started asking to see us live. We all had a hole in
our touring schedules by the end of July so we whipped up some
shows. Not trying to be KISS, no make-up or breathing fire, just a
bunch of fans playing music and having fun. We had Mark
Zavon on guitar as
well, and played shows in L.A and Vegas, was a lot of fun! Would
love to do more shows, maybe we can play in Malaysia, if people
there want to see us.