Interview: Joe Satriani Discusses His New Marshall JVM Signature Series Amps and 'Satchurated,' His 3D Film
"Can't Slow Down," a song from Joe Satriani's Flying In A Blue Dream album, might turn 23 years old this year -- but it's never been a more accurate description of its creator.
The guitarist's new 3D film, Satchurated, makes its theatrical debut today -- the same day he happens to be appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with Chickenfoot.
Later this month, Satriani will take the G3 show on the road in Australia with Steve Lukather and longtime cohort Steve Vai. As if that weren't enough, Chickenfoot are hitting the road in May for their Different Devil Tour of North America.
And then there's the new Marshall Joe Satriani Signature Series JVM amp, which will be unveiled later this month. We recently spoke to Satriani -- in great detail -- about the new amp.
GUITAR WORLD: When will we get to see your new JVM signature series amps?
The signature amp will be unveiled at Musikmesse in Frankfurt this month after a long and really fruitful R&D period. I took it out on tour with the Wormhole Tour. I had the very first one when we did the overdubs for the Black Swans album. I had it for the Chickenfoot III album and the touring we’ve been doing. I’ve put all the prototypes to really great use. I’ve made a 3D film (Satchurated), two albums, a bunch of tours and TV. I tried to put it through all its paces.
Does it differ significantly from the off-the-rack JVM410?
Yes, quite a bit. The obvious things are that there is no reverb. We have replaced the reverb with four individual noise gates that can be programmed for each of the channels. This is something I thought was important for doing TV and studio work where you need to have certain setups. You need it to be quiet, but you need to have it come in roaring with gain stages up high for certain parts. There are so many great reverb pedals. Like the little Wet Reverb Pedal (Neunaber Technology). I really love that one. You don’t want to be carrying around spring reverbs in your head.
We re-biased the presence and resonance controls to be much more effective for how guitarists like to hear their sounds. I think a lot of those controls were set decades ago and sort of got grandfathered in and people weren’t thinking about them. Some amplifier companies took a really good look at them, like Peavey and Two-Rock, and so my time with Peavey educated me that you can tailor them to how guitar players want to hear them.
The next thing to me was looking at the overall sound of the amp. It is a four-channel amp with three modes per channel. The first thing was to look at that clean channel and to make that very first mode of the clean channel and make it like the original Marshall 6100. For me, that was one of the greatest clean Marshall tones that would accept a pedal distortion. You get that up to club or concert level and it sounds almost as good as having your favorite tube amp running at its perfect level.
All of us know that if do a lot of gigs, you can never count on getting your amp up to that perfect, peculating level for every gig. You always have to reset your volume for the venue you are in. Sometimes the tubes can have you scratching your head because they react differently at different volumes. Distortion pedals are just fantastic for not only rehearsing quietly but also for all those moments when you are going to play in highly compressed environments like radio, television or recording against compressed loops.