Personality: In The Case of Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
by Remin Anuar on 16th-September-2013

What should you know about Ron Thal besides 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 Tube ) 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 Guitars )

Tell me about your current gig nowadays. Seems you’re pretty busy touring all over Europe. This current gig is to promote your solo stuff right?
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 music/culture.
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 Foot guitar, and the Swiss Cheese guitar.

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 Tichy (ex-Whitesnake) on drums and Rex Brown (ex-Pantera) 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.

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