Casey Prestwood Interview

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Shortscale guitars aren’t just a passion of ShortScale. In fact, a lot of well known pros out there love these guitars as much as the addicts associated with this site. To that end, we contacted none other than CASEY PRESTWOOD. His accomplished credits include many bands, especially Hot Rod Circuit. The following is an un-edited interview with CASEY PRESTWOOD conducted by ShortScale member ROBROE.

Bands / Projects

Here's the current roster...just so no one gets left out.

Casey James Prestwood (solo country record 07/06 studio dates) Mt.Lyon (instrumental Steel Band featuring most of the band from above) The Don't Tells (new record coming out on doghouse TBA release) Hot Rod Circuit (yes we still are a band and are recording now) The Only Children (Yes we still are a band and are recording hopefully this sept.) Drag The River (I am on two new records. It's Crazy comes out on Suburban Home next month. that I am on most of. And another one that was recorded in Jan. TBA release date.)

The Interview

ShortScale: Could you list the guitars you own currently? Talk about any / all of them at length

CASEY: (Don't steal from me/ I am not super wealthy by any means...the following are my babies..okay end paranoia now....interview beginning)

Well Due to Moving, and raising money for my self funded records, and saving for a house, I have considerabley downsized my collection of Guitars. Some of this has gone into my new guitar interests like Pedal Steel and B-Bender things as well. In the past year or so I let go of my 64 Lake Placid Blue Jazzmaster, my 66 Lake Placid Blue Fender XII, and my 69 comp orange mustang. Ouch!!, I know...but it had to be done. And i will hopefully get something like them again.

I currently own, 2 custom shop mustangs.(although one of them is on lone to Jeff from Say Anything.) One is Sheerwood Green Metallic w/matching headstock and bound/block late 60's style neck*. They both have the swithces nuetered and the pickups are wired in line to the beefed up volume and tone pots. The pickups are Custom Shop "Hot" vintage Noisless strat pickups. The other guitar is Fiesta Red with a matching headstock and all the above apointments*, but I have only the neck pickup wired. These were built for me by Alex Perez in 2003 by the Fender Custom Shop in CA.

I use a nashville Fender Tele with a parons/white Fender B-Bender for my country bands like Drag The River. I used this guitar some on the newer unreleased Hot Rod Circuit stuff also.

I have a 1969 competition Burghundy mustang. This is the color everyone refers to as "purple burst". It is pretty much mint. I will hopefully never get rid of it.

I also have a 1969 Fender Custom. This is the guitar that looks like a 6 string version of the electric XII. It's sunburst. It has a mustang bridge, and weird star shaped bottum end body. I love the pick ups on this guitar. It was this guitar and my Fender XII(that I don't have anymore) that inspired my competition mustang necks.

last, but not least the baby of my collection is a 1962 Burghundy Mist Metallic Jaguar that's all original. It's a beauty. I use it in the "Save You" video. It plays sweet. I use it only in the studio now. It has an unbeleivable neck. Super worn in and smooth and tons of birdseye figured maple. It has the mute, which I don't use and the white tolex case. I hopefully will never let this one go either.

I also have a collection of vintage Hiwatt amplifiers and a couple of vintage orange and fender amps. I have two custom GFI Pedal Steel Guitars. One is a single neck with 4 knee levers, and 3 pedals. It has the keyless tuners and the arm rest pad. The other is a double 10 string with 8 pedals and 5 knee levers. I also have a vintage fender classical acoustic that was my uncles, a vintage clunker dobro, a Guild D-55 acoustic with a fishman in it, and my grandma's Silvertone LapSteel and acoustic. left
ShortScale:Your main touring guitars the last 2 years have been custom shop mustangs. Can you give us the history of how they came to be in their current form?

CASEY: Well, when Hot Rod Circuit first started interacting with Fender, it was my dream to have them custom make me a mustang. Unfortunately, Fender Japan has the templates to cut the bodies, and to tool the hardware parts. However, the usa factory does have the templates to make Jaguar necks, which are the same as Mustangs in scale and size. I like the Japananese Mustangs and have owned a few, but wanted the feel of the old late 60's early 70's competition mustangs. They feel like they have more weight to me. So, at that point I think I owned close to 10 mustangs and an inventory of necks and bodies. I picked out one that was a 69 body that someone had stripped the original finish off(I think it was comp red). I sent this, an 80's replacement guard made by warmoth I believe that I really liked and the bridge and tail peice. The rest Alex made, or supplied. He had their decal guy make me the headstock decal. although it's not exactly like I wanted it, it is unique. It's the only I have seen that says "made in the Usa". I like the white button Kluson Deluxe Tuners on the early Competition Mustangs so I put those on after the fact. So he made me the Sheerwood Green one. But in the process of drying the first neck, the binding popped out. They were gonna toss this perfectly sweet neck. I had an orange(actually Fiesta Red) proto-type reissue competition mustang from the Namm Show. I had accidentally broke the neck and cracked the body on it. Chris Fusco (saves the day's tech) helped me fix the body on it with wood glue injections and I dropped it off at Fender in California. Alex then used the first neck on this guitar and made it as much like the green one as he could. At that time he was building Prince a shit load of teles. The logo from mine, all though not a mustang logo, came from the same batch as Prince's teles. He signed the neck pockets of both of these guitars, and I will never get rid o them. They are very nice. right
ShortScale:Andy once told me that you were into nirvana when you were younger, was he just messin or is there some truth behind it, and if so how much of an influence on you was it to get into these types of fenders, to get away from what everyone else on stage is playing?

CASEY:I was a huge Nirvana fan. I saw them in 93 with one of my best friends and my dad. Great show. Yeah Kurt's mustangs always captured my attention. I really liked Thurston Moores odd ball Fenders too. These things in combination with the fact that in Alabama at the time, a new mustang or music master or jazzmaster and jaguar would come in to one of the two guitar shops in Auburn every couple of weeks. My first guitar was a strat. I wish I had never gotten rid of it. But if I hadn't, I would have never been able to sample all these guitars. Mustangs cost like 300 bucks then. So I went through easily 10 or so befored I moved to connecticuit. This is including duo sonics, music masters, broncos and such. Jazzmasters and Jaguars were more like 600-700. So I had only one of those. But I would constantly trade the mustangs back and forth.

ShortScale: You have been a big supporter of HIWATT amps over the years. What is it you like most about them? Tone? Headroom? Rock?

CASEY:They are so clean it makes your teeth hurt. They are for the most part built like tanks and wired beautifully. The partridge transiformers are a custom wound heavy monster that can melt your zipper and lock your jaw shut if tampered with. I don't know....I just love the way they sound. I like that they have head room but barely turn any of mine past 3 or 4. I like to get a clean defined tone out of them and then break it up with a nice overdrive pedal. Townsend, Gilmour.....It was cool with these guys... This is a factor. I love the way they look too. They are very heavy. The cabs are the best. The ones with the sunken in handles(lack of handles), and Fane Speakers. I hope to make an awesome home stereo out some of mine some day. I have a 200 watt head(6 el 34's), a 100 PA head, a 2x15 ported cab, and a 50 watt 4x12 combo.( a monster)

ShortScale:Do you feel like the mustang is a fairly versatile guitar for the different bands you play in? rock / garage / country.if not what kinds of mods have you discovered that make it more useful?

CASEY:Vintage guitar magazine this month(yes I am a subscriber) put out a "competition" mustang article . I wish they had called me. Fairly accurate. Although they did mess up and say that their comp red mustang was orange in the picture. I think they are pretty versatile. But that also depends on the player. They naturally have a thin bluesy tone I think.(the vintage ones) But I like this for a couple reasons. I like not having a total metal gainy sound after I break it up, (which also comes from the amp, and pedal) but it also just sounds like what I am used to. And what I am used to vintage fender sounding like. I think they are great for garage type stuff yes, rock stuff yes, country I like playing my tele, and yes jaguar on(think luther perkins). Although I have used the mustang on some country type stuff. The japanese ones seem to break up a lot faster and I think they have more gain. left
ShortScale:is there anything about the design of the mustang you don't like and would change?

CASEY:I am glad they added the contours on mustangs. That was a good change. I like how the switches look, but usually end up turning the guitar off by accident when rocking. So I usually don't use them live. Other than that...I wish they would do a Usa version again. Their Jags, and Jazzmasters are pretty close to the old ones.

ShortScale:How difficult was it getting ahold of and working with the Fender Custom Shop?

CASEY:Even as a Fender Endorsee, it was very hard. My guy was the coolest dude though. Very nice and thorough. He even gave me and my band the Don't Tells a tour of the factory. It was crazy. So I got to see my green guitar in production. But yes, it's tough. It took my almost two years to get both done. But I can't complain. I love the guitars and they totally hooked me up.

ShortScale:In your opinion of the Mustangs short lived re-release: was the price positioning correct for a student guitar that has been re-released and still made like a student guitar?

CASEY:I think they wanted to do it as a short lived thing for marketing. The original competition mustangs were really around for like 5 years.( a little more or less give or take) Like I said above...I wish they would have done an american one 100% accurately. As for price, to be totally honest...I got my two reissue's for free...and I never found out how much they were selling them for. Somewhere around 400-500 though right? this is decent I suppose.

ShortScale:What would he like to see from Fender in the future?

CASEY:I love the american vintage stuff and the custom shop relic'ed teles and strats.

ShortScale:What are your fav. settings on your DS-1?

CASEY:I don't know what this is. If it's a distortion pedal....I use a Fulltone 69 Fuzz with Drag and a Bob FYe swedish distortion pedal with HOt rod, for along time I used an mxr distortion plus. I pretty much set all of these pedals the same. volume (8 or 9) tone (if there is one at like 6) and distortion/fuzz/overdrive at like 6 and kick it up during the solo. right
ShortScale:If Gibson ever bought out Fender; would you be interested in their "Honeyburst Flametop" Mustang Custom?

CASEY:I think I would throw up. But I have to admit...I do want a custom les paul for studio work. Black preferably. Honey burst...yuck.not for me.

ShortScale:How do you thicken the thin tone the mustang produces?

CASEY:Get a vintage or new botique style distortion. Preferably something with germanium in it. I also use beefy pickups live most of the time. THe hiwatt helps because it rips faces off.

ShortScale:What size strings do you use now / in the past?

CASEY:I have always used 10's for their flexablilty. I put 11's on my jazzmaster once for recording. But for lead...10's. Bendy town.

ShortScale:B bender tele !?!?!

CASEY:My current favorite player is probably Clarence White on electric guitar. Short timed guitarist for the late period byrds. The father of the B-bender. Gene Parsons built him his first bender. Ever since I got into him I have wanted one. I still have my fender hookup somehow, and ordered their stock nashville tele that comes with a parsons/white "fender"bender. This is slightly different than the standard parsons white as it's mounted to a chrome back peice. The b-bender is used mostly for pedal steel type bends on guitar. It's essentially like having an "A" Pedal from the E 9 neck on pedal steel on your guitar. I recently sent my guitar to Gene Parsons to have some work done. I got his standard set up and also had him modify my travel to a "long Stroke". THis still makes the B bend to C.. but has nearly an inch more travel. It's a slower longer bend essentially. It's awesome. The stock bend is around 5/8" where my longstroke now is like 1 1/8" or so. In short, it's awesome...and it's opened my eyes to a whole other world of playing.

ShortScale: Any final words?

CASEY:In closing, don't forget to grow as a player. always to try to play something that you might think is out of your realm. Maybe not always...sometime simple and straight melody is the best...but don't give up on learning.Thanks for Reading. left (c) 2006 ShortScale.Org

  • photos by Hilary Roe
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