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Sevenstring.org Interview: Doug Doppler
Sevenstring.org's Jerich interviews guitarist Doug Doppler.
Published by Chris
05-23-2006
Arrow Sevenstring.org Interview: Doug Doppler

<div align="right"><img src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/dd/dd_xlogo1.gif" alt="Doug Doppler" />
<b>Interview: Doug Doppler</b>
<font size="1"><i>By: Jerich</i></font>
</div>
<div align="center">
"If the company he keeps is any indication, guitarist Doug Doppler is poised for both success and tremendous musical impact. Signed to Steve Vai's highly acclaimed Favored Nations label, Doug is also a former pupil of guitar Virtuoso Joe Satriani. And yes, he has already played at G3. His upcoming European tour frames him with another guitar hero - Gilby Clarke of Guns N' Roses, and now member of Supernova, subject for the second season of CBS' "Rock Star" hit television show." - <span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">Official Website</span>
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<img style="padding:20px;" align="left" src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/dd/1.jpg" alt="Doug Doppler" /><span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">Jerich:</span> Doug, thanks for joining us for an interview. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you've been up to of late?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">Doug Doppler:</span> Thanks! Hello to all my 7-String colleagues! My name is Doug Doppler, and I'm a California based guitarist signed to Steve Vai's Favored Nations label. My debut release on Favored Nations, "Nu Instrumetal," came out last year, and I am about to head off to Europe in support of that disc, opening for Gilby Clarke (Supernova, Guns 'n Roses).

The day after I fly back into the U.S., I fly down to L.A. to play with Uli Jon Roth at his Sky Academy Concert Series. I actually opened a show for Uli and Michael Schenker a couple years ago, so there was already a bit of personal history there. A mutual friend put in a good word for me, Uli visited my web site (if you don't have a web site, you should), and liked what he heard enough to invite me. I'm still in shock, but I try to ignore the sort of stuff that could go to my head, and really try to focus on what I started doing all of this for - my love of music.
I also just added a guest solo on a track by Geoff Tyson that is going to appear on Liquid Note Records' "The Alchemists II." Geoff and I have known each other for years, and met while we were both studying with Joe Satriani. Geoff is an amazing guitarist and a dear friend.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> What was your musical education like?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Well, while I was in high school I began studying with Joe. After 3 1/2 years of lessons, I headed off to L.A. and attended GIT. Since that time I've been teaching at the Berkeley, CA teaching studio I inherited from Joe. Teaching has been one of my greatest inspirations for developing not just as a teacher, but as a player as well.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> Students aside, who are some of your other influences, currently?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Joe, obviously. Jeff Beck was also in town a couple weeks back, and just was magnificent. It may not be popular to say, but I really love Wes Borland's guitar playing. People bag on the Bizkit, but let it be said that Wes is a bloody great guitar player. Zakk rocks, too, and in addition to being a great lead player he's one of my favorite rhythm players. Vai, Schon, Van Halen, Holdsworth, McLaughlin, and Jimi are all on my A list as well.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> What first made you switch to 7 string guitars, as your primary musical instrument of choice?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> I've been playing Ibanez S Series guitars for about 10 years now, in one form or another. I walked into Guitar Center one day, though, and they had an S7470 on the wall. I pulled it down, plugged it in and promptly bought it. It has all the classic S-Series tones, but also has the low B. And yes, I do use standard tuning.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> As I understand, that 7420 is still your main seven? What is it that drew you to that particular guitar?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Yes, it still is. I love the combination of a mahogany body, dual humbuckers with a five-way toggle, and 22 fret neck; it's the perfect blend of the best features from Strats and Les Pauls. Unbeknownst to many players is the fact that when you add a 24th fret you really lose a lot from the neck position because the humbucker no longer resides at the second octave harmonic node of the guitar. This dramatically impacts the inherent sound of the guitar, especially when it comes to getting a really bluesy tone.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> So, what products and companies do you currently endorse?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> I have been with Ibanez for about 10 years and counting. Same goes with DiMarzio and D'Addario.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> What do your live rig and recording rigs include?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> My live rig will change when I return from the road. I am taking a Boss GT-6 with me, and the tour will be backlined for me with a Marshall half stack at each venue. I run the GT-6 in the loop, and hence end up using just the power amp section of the amp, which means that the sound should be very consistent. At the moment, though, I have a Krank amp that is on loan to me that is just sensational. It's the Chadwick model, which is a bit bluesier than the Krankenstein. The Chadwick just plain sounds great - period!

At the end of the tour, I'll be doing a clinic in Milan for the Ibanez distributor there, and they'll duplicate my "old" live rig, a JCM2000 TSL1000 and an ENGL Savage 120, with an A/B box. As I noted above, the GT-6 runs in the loop of the Marshall, and the ENGL is used solely for maximum rhythm. I will end up replacing that amp with a Krankenstein probably. The Krank stuff is just great.

<img style="padding:20px;" align="right" src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/dd/2.jpg" alt="Doug Doppler" /><span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> At what time in your career did you begin to feel comfortable with your playing?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> When I was about 17 or so, something started to click. I had been studying with Joe for about 2 years at that point. Unlike some players, it took me a while to get my coordination together. That year, though, something clicked. Since then (I'm now 41) I have continued to try to push myself and always go someplace new with my music and my playing. As I have been practicing for the tour, I have made it a point to play each of the songs differently that I did on the disc, and in fact really leave them wide open to interpretation in terms of
inflection. I feel that I have so much more that I want to do on the instrument. The best thing is that I have been blessed with so many opportunities as of late, and I really always seem to translate experiences into a new take on my music. I am VERY excited to take these songs across Europe and see where it takes my playing. I really love the way Jeff Beck just plays what's in the air, and I'm really looking forward to trying to grow in that direction.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span>If you could teach other seven string players one thing, what would it be?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span>Take the instrument and your playing somewhere new. I spend a fair amount of time on MySpace, and most of the major dudes are on there, as well as a number of really talented guitar players. There are some totally scary cats. The only down side is that I hear very few guys that make me go "where did that guy come up with that?!" I certainly have influences that are evident, but I strive to NOT sound like them. The guitar's not easy for anyone, but it's definitely easier to sound great, but not original. That is what I think makes Wes so good. He's a great rhythm player, and anything but someone's clone.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> Do you work all your solos out in advance, or do you play off the cuff?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Well, I touched on this previously, but I think people have lost touch with the art of improvisation. So much of what I hear sounds like a Paul Gilbert lick followed by a Rusty Cooley lick, followed by a (fill in the blank) lick. It becomes almost predictable after a while. Jeff Beck is loved and adored by countless thousands because you NEVER know what he is going to play next. I've seen him a couple of times and he's just great. I do my best to not work out solos, it's part of taking chances. You can map out certain areas on the neck, but I try not to do the note-for note thing. I always want to try to outdo myself. That, for me, is where music gets its life.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> What are your strings? Gauge? and picks used?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> When I recorded Nu Instrumetal, I had Gary Brawer set up one of my S7470's with 11's, and only used that gitar for rhythm. My other one I left 9's on, and used that guitar for melodies and solos. I have been using Dunlop 1mm Tortex picks forever and I am getting my custom picks for the tour delivered tomorrow!

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> Do you have a "secret weapon" in your rig that you think others might find interesting?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Yes, my slide. I use it to create a kind of DJ scratching sound. You can hear it on Funky Armadillo, as well as on the promo track I did for the Ibanez ZR Tremolo that you can hear at <a href="http://www.MySpace.com/DougDoppler" target="_TOP">my myspace page</a>.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> Who has perfect tone to you, and who's tone do you think your own has been the most influenced by?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> If I put out a melodic record people would hear how much I tend to sound like Joe. Because I studied with him for so long, it's been a real struggle to develop a sound of my own. The thing about Nu Instrumetal that I love the most was the fact that there are all these heavy chords, and you just can't play lots of pretty melodies over the top. I think it helped me discover another side to my playing in the process of recording it, but I do just love Joe's tone and touch - one note and you know it's him. Neal Schon is also right up there, I used to demo for Schon Guitars, so I've been so lucky to hang out and play with these guys up close and personal. Then of course there is Jeff. I have been spending more and more time playing with my fingers as it really adds a wonderful vocal element to the melodies. The further you put your finger below the string the more "enunciation" you get out of the notes. It's really cool.

<img style="padding:20px;" align="left" src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/dd/4.jpg" alt="Doug Doppler" /><span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> How important is ear training to you and how can you comment on it to others?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> When I was nine, I studied singing formally and was exposed to classical ear training. That means for three decades I have been able to utilize scale singing to develop my ear. The mode spelling excersize on my Diatonic Theory and Harmony DVD is a combination of theory behind scale singing and the Pitch Axis (a term coined by Joe Satriani relating to seeing two modes played off of a common tonal center). Scale singing has you compare notes to the Major Scale to determine what they are, including bs and #s. Do this with each of the modes at a common root you not only learn the formulas for each of the modes, but also the harmonic differences. The modes are where chords are framed, if you will. If you can hear the colors of the notes in a mode, you can get a great feel about how to find/create the chord voicings that are in your head. In terms of soloing, guitar players mostly play adjacent notes when doing creating melodies or solos. Understanding how to find wider intervals that sound good together is one of the most valuable things you get out of proper ear training.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> In your spare time are you into outside of music? Do you have any interesting hobbies?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> I love to garden. It's very creative - I work with my hands, watch things grow. Unlike the music business, I have great control over the outcome! My wife and I spend a lot of time in the yard together, which is a lot of fun. I have an active spiritual live and play at Church every Sunday (but not the seven string, I'm afraid).

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> What made you decide to do instrumental music? would you ever work with a full band?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Well, I, along with a few thousand other people, sent a package along for the Ozzy thing. I love vocal music. That said I have listened and loved instrumental music since High School. It was an obvious point of connection between Joe and myself. I still remember the first conversation I had with Joe. We compared influences and even back then shared a love for instrumental music and artists. Yes, I am looking for the right vocal gig. I don't have an interest in being a professional sideman, I don't want to build someone else's career. I'd rather be a part of something, be it my own thing, or as a "real" band member. I love vocal music, so no problem there!

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> If you could work on a project with anybody, who would it be and why?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Jagger and Ozzy are at the top of the list. I wrote a BUNCH of songs for Ozzy, some really strong material including a gorgeous ballad that may sadly never see the light of day. Playing with Mick would allow me to break out some of my R&B (no, not rap, Rhythm & Blues) playing. I love the stuff. And yes, I left Keith out up above on the A list. GREAT rhythm player - I LOVE the Stones!

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> What other seven string guitar players are you into?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Wes, Steve Vai, and Brad Delson (Linkin Park) are my guys. I actually did the Brad Delson endorsement deal for DiMarzio. He's a nice guy and a great player. I've known Steve forever - Joe gave me his number when I went to study at GIT. He's been an amazing influence. My life has been blessed in so many ways, including being surrounded by so many amazing players.

<img style="padding:20px;" align="right" src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/dd/3.jpg" alt="Doug Doppler" /><span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> Playing live with Joe Satriani and Neal Schon - how was that?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> It was a moment in my career that I will never forget. Joe invited me to sit in with Neal at the Fillmore, and it was just a transformational moment. I remember walking up the backstage stairs as if I was climbing a stairway to heaven. Every step I took brought me closer to something I'd waited so long for. The Fillmore is an infamous venue, and to sit in with both Joe AND Neal was just over the top. Beyond words, really.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> What is your practice style like?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> These days, I spend about as much time on e-mail as I do practicing, which is "interesting". There is a phrase, "don't curse your blessing", which translates to "you got what you wanted, don't whine about how much e-mail you get as a direct result of how well things are going". That said, I have a rigorous practice curriculum that requires maintenance and I am always working on making my technique better. I am so busy now, that what I am practicing is impacted by what I am working on. Teaching, playing, and shooting DVDs require their own respective practice regime, it is a little much at times, but I think I like the thrill of always being in the creative process.

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> What does the future hold for you?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> I wish I knew! That said, there' a potential U.S. tour this fall, and I am very excited about this. Touring is largely having a disc to promote, and a booking agent to promote you to, you guessed it, promoters. No disc to promote, no tours to go on. Without the deal on Favored Nations, none of the amazing things that are happening would be possible. I have a great booking agent, and he is doing a phenomenal job. Aside from that, I am just about done with my second Guitar 411 DVD - Whammy Bar Mojo. It is all about the underlying techniques that you need to develop to really get the most out of your vibrato bar work. It has been a really fun DVD to work on. There are a lot of whammy bar licks that people will be able to add to their playing, and hopefully make them their own!

<span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">J:</span> Is there anything else you would like to say to seven string guitar players, in closing?
<span style="color:orange;font-weight:bold;">DD:</span> Just remember why you started playing - for the love of music. Find who you are in your music whether you never plan on playing a gig or are already famous to many, and take your music and make it something uniquely yours. There is so much mediocrity in this world, and each of us has something that makes us totally unique from each other. Find what that is, and express, but have FUN in the process! Thanks again - this has been a blast!
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<a href="http://www.DougDoppler.com" target="_BLANK"><span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;text-decoration:none">www.DougDoppler.com</span></a> - <a href="http://www.Guitar411.com" target="_BLANK"><span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;text-decoration:none">Diatonic Theory & Harmony</span></a>
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  #1  
By Chris on 05-23-2006, 06:10 PM
Thanks very much for taking the time to answer us, Doug. Great interview. Thanks to Jerich for putting it all together.
  #2  
By David on 05-23-2006, 07:02 PM
Doug is a god.
  #3  
By Jerich on 05-24-2006, 02:05 AM
First and formost.Chris thank you....you make me wanna do it again and again...heheh!!! and second to Doug and the rest of the board Peeps....The knowledge that Doug possess is awesome...if anyone takes the time get his DVD's...from beginer to Expert-o they will keep you on your toes.....doug thanks man...i know how much you loved the fact of this being a 7 string guitar website....and tell your wife I said thank you for the update....see you at ..The Sky Guitar Academy....
  #4  
By ChrisPcritter on 04-10-2007, 07:46 PM
Doug is in a new project he won't reveal yet, but has taken a break (which could be permanent) from teaching and is slated to play with the MSG tour as well as doing clinics for Ibanez. If he's in your area definately go see him at either a clinic or a tour. I believe he said that one stop is the House of Blues in Chicago. You can also request that your local Ibanez dealer request him for a clinic. He is definately one of the best teachers anywhere...
  #5  
By Jerich on 06-24-2007, 10:33 PM
here comes his new tour everyone.......support the sevens...........


Doug Doppler


LATEST NEWS
Tour Update
Tour Gear Line-Up
Guitar Masters Vol I
Guitar411.com
Ibanez Clinics

UPCOMING SHOWS
Sun 06/24/07 Sacramento, CA Hard Rock Cafe

Mon 06/25/07 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick

Tues 06/26/07 Las Vegas, NV Canyon Club

Wed 06/27/07 Colorado Springs, CO Union Station

Thu 06/28/07 Lakewood, CO Eck's Saloon

Sat 06/30/07 Houston, TX Scout Bar

Sun 07/01/07 Dallas, TX Granada Theater

Wed 07/04/07 Woodruff, WI The Longshot

Thu 07/05/07 Milwaukee, WI Shank Hall

Fri 07/06/07 Detroit, MI I-Rock Nightclub

Mon 07/09/07 Chicago, IL House Of Blues - w/ Enuffs Z'nuff

Wed 07/11/07 Buffalo, NY Rock & Roll Heaven

Thu 07/12/07 Allentown, PA Crocodile Rock Cafe

Fri 07/13/07 Southbridge, MA Artist Development Complex

Sat 07/14/07 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre / Underground

Sun 07/15/07 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance

Thu 07/19/07 Wantagh, NY Mulcahy's

Fri 07/20/07 Richmond, VA Toad's Place

Sat 07/21/07 Springfield, VA Jaxx
  #6  
By Jerich on 01-23-2008, 09:59 AM
Hey everyone after seeing Doug preform at the Joe satriani 20th ann party for Ibanez I must say Doug is a Keeper...Man he made herman Li look bad!!! in playing....seriously I think Marty Friedman and Paul Gilbert were the highlights...and Joes tone has never sounded better!!!
but back to Doug man he's a monster of a player!!!
  #7  
By 7stringTorment on 03-30-2008, 10:22 PM
Very cool cat ! and i love his closing statement...really sums up my sentiments
  #8  
By Panterica on 06-02-2009, 04:14 AM
nice, but...Krank over Engl?
meh
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