The Current's Guitar Collection: Ron Gallo, Fender Jaguar

Ron Gallo performs in The Current studio
Ron Gallo performs in The Current studio. (Jules Ameel for MPR)
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Ron Gallo talks about his guitar playing and influences
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Ron Gallo was recently in The Current's studio, where he and his band turned in a rocking set of tunes. After the session, Gallo took some time to talk to us about his red Fender Jaguar guitar. Here's what Gallo had to say:

How long have you had this Fender Jaguar?

I got it about two years ago. I was looking for a red Jaguar for a long time, and then I found it on Craigslist in Philadelphia, and as soon as I found it, I knew it was the one. I bought it from a kid at a café.

And it came with flat-wound strings on it, which I wouldn't have thought to do, and so since then, I've just kept flat-wound strings on it.

You say you'd been looking for a Jaguar?

Yes, I was really interested in a Jaguar for a bit. I was browsing around and didn't really have much money to spend on it, so when I found this one, it was like half the price of all the other ones I was looking at. It was meant to be.

It looks pretty gently used.

It's a newer one; I actually don't know what year it is. It was probably made in the last four years or so.

What drew you to the Jaguar? Had you played one before?

I guess I was kind of drawn to the visual of it at first. And I played a few and just kind of liked the sound. They're a lot less common, I think, than say, a Telecaster. I was playing semi-hollow-bodies and stuff before then. But I think with this one, I found home here, I like it a lot.

Did you write most of your album Heavy Meta on this one, or did it come along later?

This one came along later. A lot of the songs were already written. It was on the record a little bit. I kind of got it towards the end of the recording process. But it's been the main live guitar for me. It's on the record on a few songs, but it's not all over it.

When you're writing songs, do you use the electric guitar or do you use an acoustic guitar for that?

It's always different. I like to do both. Sometimes when I'm at home, I like to just turn the amp up really loud and set up a microphone, especially when I'm home by myself and I can make a lot of noise.

So I do some writing on it, and sometimes just an acoustic guitar or a piano, or Voice Memos in my phone.

Your music seems characterized by virtuosic guitar playing and really strong vocals — you've got great range. In your artistic trajectory, which came first: guitar or singing?

I got a guitar first, and I kind of assumed the role of lead singer in a lot of my first bands, even though I could not sing at all. But I was always writing the songs, so I would always just try to sing them, and so singing for me was much harder — there was no natural ability there at all. So it was kind of an uphill learning process over the last decade or so.

And even guitar-wise, it's funny you say "virtuosic" because I know about one scale and I know some chords, and I'm much more drawn to trying to evoke primal sounds out of the instrument than trying to shred or play pretty stuff or learn a lot of theoretical things or scales. For me, it's all about the noise that you can pull out of it that may be a unique sound or more unconventional.

Who are some of your guitar-playing influences?

My favorite guitar player is probably Robert Quine, from Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and he played with a bunch of other people, too. When I listen to him, I'm like, "I kind of hear myself in this." And also his approach: it's very unconventional and kind of noisy and jagged. And before I'd ever even heard him play, I kind of already played in a similar sense. So the first time I heard it, I was like, "Whoa, this is really weird — this guy plays like a psycho, and I love it."

It's just very unconventional. It's great.

Resource


Ron Gallo - official site

Fender Guitars: Jaguar - official site

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3 Photos

  • Ron Gallo's Fender Jaguar on its stand in The Current studio
    Ron Gallo's Fender Jaguar. (Jules Ameel for MPR)
  • Ron Gallo's Fender Jaguar in The Current studio
    Ron Gallo's Fender Jaguar, with sticker of actor Jason Alexander as George Costanza on TV's "Seinfeld." (Jules Ameel for MPR)
  • Ron Gallo performs in The Current studio
    Ron Gallo plays his Fender Jaguar in The Current studio. (Jules Ameel for MPR)

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