Spotlight: Maddy Jane

Maddy Jane
(Image credit: Ruby Boland)

HAILS FROM: Bruny Island, TAS
PLAYS: Solo (with a killer backing band)
SOUNDS LIKE: High-energy alt-rock with a folk edge
LATEST DROP: "You're Not Mine" (single out now via Sony)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
I’m pretty much always playing my 2015/16 Japanese (MIJ) Classic ‘60s Tele Custom – it’s a Candy Apple red, double-bound beauty that I saved from being stuck at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. I nagged the guy in the shop to sell me this Tele – he said he was selling it to the Uni, but I went in every day and nagged until he made the right decision and let me have it. I love it for all the reasons: it’s perfect for my sound, my small hands and my playing style!

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
My first guitar was a pretty cheap acoustic that I stuck shells on with Blu‑Tack! I fell in love with the guitar because once I’d learned just a few things from my music teacher in high school, I found that there was so much to explore. I loved it because it was the perfect instrument to allow me to back myself singing. I started writing songs as soon as I knew a few chords and could work things out to express my little self.

What inspires you as a player?
Ranging from Courtney Barnett to Paul Kelly to Danielle Haim – those are the kinds of guitarists I channel when playing, but there are so many guitarists I admire for soundcraft in general, and that I take from when arranging songs or writing guitar lines. I’m no solo shredder, so I maybe don’t channel them as much live, but I think I favour a couple of guitarist teams because my lead guitarist, James Hunt, is so much a part of how we work out the guitar together. I usually write lines for him to play on top of what I’m playing to get what I’m hearing in the two guitars.

Are you much of a gear nerd?
I’m a wannabe gear nerd, I suppose? I love the magic of sound more than the technicalities, but do really nerd out at Telecasters; chorus, overdrive and delay pedals; and pretty much anything vintage. I actually have this overdrive pedal that was custom-made for me by Red Sun Music. I got to make my own sound and I picked out all the frequencies!

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
I really want a baritone guitar! 

What would your signature model look like?
Look, probably just like the one I own [laughs]. But maybe it would be pink or orange. I love anything vintage looking, so if I did a custom model it would look super vintage with all the old knobs and bells, with a Tele or Les Paul kind of body so it’s not too big. It would also need to have a scale length of 24.75-inches for my little hands, and a slim ‘60s-style neck!

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
Danielle Haim. I would love to jam with all three HAIM sisters, but I just love Danielle’s playing, hooks and riffs. She is one of my biggest inspirations. 

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…