In the Studio: Stuart ‘Stuie’ French

Stuie FrenchAustralian born Golden Guitar award winner Stuart ‘Stuie’ French is a master of the country/jazz guitar-style (Les Paul invited him up to play when he was in New York!) and many of his guitar heroes are the great Americans: Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, Roy Nichols and Danny Gatton.

His awesome technique and laid back style has been a star combination: in the last 20 years Stuie has worked with top country artists like Redd Volkaert, Troy Cassar-Daley, Gina Jeffreys, Slim Dusty, Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole and Leo Sayer – just to name few. He’s even jammed with the legendary Merle Haggard.

Contributed by: Braegen Russell

He is by far the best electric player I’ve seen in Australia and most other places.” –  Redd Volkaert (Grammy Award Winning Guitarist).

While Stuart keeps busy playing sessions and tours, his other musical passion is playing western swing with the pedal steel guitarist Michel Rose in their band The Feral Swing Katz.

Their blend of 40’s swing, classic country with a touch of jazz has made a huge impact on the Australian music market. In 2001 they earned a MO award for Best Country Band; in 2002 they added a Golden Guitar; then in 2006 the Ferals won the ACE award for Country Group of the Year. In January 2013 Stuie and his wife Camille won a Golden Guitar Award at Tamworth for “Best Alternative Country Album of the Year” which Stuie produced.  Their songs have also featured on the Channel 7 Drama “A Place to Call Home”.

We sat down with Stu to talk about life as a Country guitarist in Australia, the importance of great tone and how a guy like Stu French can find a home for the new BOSS GT-001.

What was it like to work with great country musicians?

“I got to hang out backstage with guys like Merle (Haggard) and his Guitarist Roy Nichols, I’ve studied his guitar playing, he was a Tele picker. That’s how I started, getting his sounds out of the guitar and an amp. Merle and I would be sitting around back stage, and he’d say play ‘Roly Poly’ which had a great guitar solo in it, and we’d both take turns having a go at it, being able to jam with your heroes is such a buzz.”

What is your Inspiration?

“I’m into the real deal country music, the country that sort of has a bad name, you know about Truck Drivers, and beer Drinking and your wife walking out with someone else. All that classic stuff, ‘cause that’s where the real picking was, the guys that could really play.”

What are you currently working on?

“Now days I work mainly with my wife, Camille, she’s a great singer. It’s a nice situation having the family on the road together. We’re playing our own original music, which we won a Golden Guitar at Tamworth last year for our latest album called ‘Big Days and Little Years’

How was your first experience with the GT-001?

“Well, I have to tell you I am a little suspicious of these types of devices, you know, I’ve always gone back to a miked up amp, cause that’s how the sound was created that I like, a big amp with a big mic in front of it. Having the air move around it is how it was done. But I’m really surprised how this sounds. You’ve managed to get that sound with the GT-001, I know I could use that sound any time I like to. I could spend all day trying to get that sound, moving mics around a room, and still not be happy. Within a few minutes of building a patch, we got the sounds I know I’d be quite happy to use. It seems to have air around it which is a first as far as I know. I don’t do a lot of programming, so if I can’t get the sounds I like in a few minutes, I’ll go right back to a guitar and a cable into an amp, ‘cause I know that works. This, I know I can use this, it’s easier than setting up an amp, it sounds beautiful.”

Do the sounds in the GT-001 work for Country Music?

“To play Country Guitar, especially on a Tele – a workhorse that’s not like a limousine to drive, it’s more like a V8 Chevy, you’ve got to work it you know,  you haven’t got a lot of sustain and overdrive to help you through, you’ve got to work your fingers. A machine that can capture the purity of those tones, cause they’re pretty pure. If it’s not right it’s going to stand out, it’s a simplistic style, if the GT-001 can reproduce the tones I’m after then it’s doing pretty good! “

Despite his reluctance for programming, we twisted Stuie’s arm and got him to do some GT-001 Country Guitar patches for BOSS TONE CENTRAL – you can preview them and download them here www.bosstonecentral.com

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