The Current's Guitar Collection: Esme Patterson, ESP Ronnie Wood model

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Esme Patterson performs in The Current studio. Patterson plays an ESP Ronnie Wood model guitar. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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When Esme Patterson played an in-studio session hosted by Mary Lucia, she took some time afterwards to tell us about the guitar she plays. Here's what she had to say:

It looks like you're playing a kind of Tele …

It is, it's the ESP Ron Wood model.

It looks pretty new; how long have you had it?

I've had this guitar for about two years now. [ESP] actually just recently reached out and said they saw me playing it and they were excited about it, so they're going to send me a red one, and I can't really believe that. I'm so excited! I love this guitar, though; it's a really wonderful guitar.

Do you remember where you got it?

I didn't buy it. My manager, Chris Trovero, gave it to me because I was playing a really, really cheap, crappy Squier — one of those 70-dollar Telecasters. He was just like, "Please, please just take this guitar." Someone had left it at his house, and he was like, "Just take it and play it." He is the guitar Santa Claus for me.

I love the guitar. Her name is Cruella, because it's black and white, like Cruella DeVille.

In your interview with Mary Lucia, you talked about having an acoustic guitar as a teenager and really liking it. Nowadays, do you write songs on acoustic guitar or on electric guitar?

Well, for most of my acoustic career, I wrote on acoustic, and I actually didn't even own my own guitar until 2011, which is really stupid! But I didn't have my own guitar, I was always borrowing guitars. But yes, I was writing on acoustic guitars that were just lying around until very recently. I've been writing on electric more recently. It's really fun, and I feel like I'm hitting my stride with electric.

Which guitar players have influenced your style of playing?

I feel like for the most part, the influences on my guitar-playing are blues musicians. That's the kind of stuff that I really love. For example, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is an incredible guitar player who is a huge inspiration to me. I think she's one of the best guitar players ever. And she plays upside down and backward like my bass player Jeremy Averitt does — lefty, upside down.

Players like Son House and other just really raw, emotional, melodic, but very also rhythmic guitar playing is really inspiring to me. I'm not really much of a tone hound.

You also use some effects pedals. Do you have any favorites or ones you go to a lot?

I like to get to know the pedal companies, and I support companies that I really respect and make things in a way that makes sense. We got to tour the Earthquaker Devices factory in Akron, Ohio, earlier this year, and I play one of their pedals that I love. It's a reverb pedal with a non-self-oscillating delay on it that I think is really great.

The other one that I really love is my pedal from Portland, Oregon, where I live. It's called Catalinbread and I have another delay that I really love, that's a tape delay. I have a pretty minimal setup that's a couple delays, reverb, overdrive and a tremolo. I'll probably add to it over time.

It's an addiction, the pedals. Once you start, it's hard to stop.

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  • Esme Patterson performs in The Current studio 'I've known my whole life that I'm alive to make music,' Esme Patterson says. 'I want to keep writing songs and playing them for people.' After playing a lively show at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis on Monday night, Patterson and her band stopped in to The Current studio for a session hosted by Mary Lucia.

3 Photos

  • Esme Patterson's ESP Ronnie Wood guitar
    Headstock on Esme Patterson's ESP Ronnie Wood guitar. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Esme Patterson's ESP Ronnie Wood guitar
    Esme Patterson's ESP Ronnie Wood guitar (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Esme Patterson's ESP Ronnie Wood guitar - portrait
    Full portrait of Esme Patterson's ESP Ronnie Wood guitar. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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