Tone Talk with Jennale Adams

Photo Cred: Jennale Adams

Jennale Adams was born and raised in New York. She is a guitarist that has been in love with music as early as she can remember. Her love of playing guitar and chasing her dreams has never left her. Growing up in a multicultural household (Father African American/ Mother Indo-Trinidadian), she was exposed to so much rich culture, music, and art which has influenced her everyday life in many facets.

She has always been a music nerd. When she was fifteen, her dad got her a Stratocaster. She is primarily self-taught but she never wanted to stop learning more skills and techniques. She is heavily inspired by Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Henry Garza, Joe Satriani, Prince, and Lenny Kravitz. She says, “I think one of the most inspiring parts of being a female guitarist is the opportunity to encourage other women, especially women of color, to play and be expressive with their instruments. I feel like being a female musician is incredible and the opportunity to inspire and enlighten many other women is on the top of my list of goals for my career. 

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
My definition of tone is definitely something that I believe is more of an internal process. For me, it’s all about what feels good in my hands and really try to achieve the soul of the song I’m working on. I’m still in search of my signature tone but I think that will come with time. I have never been a fan of using too many pedals or effects. I really love smooth sensual almost guitar tones similar to the sounds of Santana and Jimi Hendrix. The way I define tone hasn’t changed much, it’s more about my approach to achieving my perfect tone that has changed over the years.

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
I currently play a Fender American Special ash Body Limited Edition Stratocaster, a Black Mexican Fender Strat (my first Strat that I have been playing for about thirteen years now), and my PRS SE Custom 24. When it comes to amps, I mostly play my Fender Mustang III. I typically use my Fender Acoustasonic amp.

My go-to for pedals are my BOSS RC-30 Dual Track loop station looper and my Cry baby Wah Wah pedal.

 What about strings?
I use D’addario NYXLS1046 – Regular Light 10s doubled ball ends on my Fender American Special ash body Stratocaster and my PRS SE Custom 24. On my black Mexican Stratocaster, I use D’Addario NYXLS1150BT 11’s. I’m a big fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan, so my goal is to eventually play 12’s.

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
Honestly, when I head into the studio, I carry all of my equipment with me with a goal of playing as loud as possible—lol. I really want to be able to feel the emotion of the songs or covers I’m working on. Playing in the studio is an exciting experience for me; at my apartment, I have to hold back because it’s a small space but when I’m in the studio, I have the freedom to really find myself and remind myself of my passion for being a guitarist and musician.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
I make sure I get plenty of hours to work on my set before I head onstage. I use my RC-30 looper a lot so when I feel like I have my songs down I like to save the settings beforehand. Afterward, I like to head to the studio to do a two-hour run-through of my entire set to make sure I’m fully comfortable with the tone and feel of my songs. By the time I have to get on stage, I feel more confident after my rehearsals so I like to let go of everything in my head and just play.  

What does your practice consist of?
I start with warming up my hands by playing some of my favorite scales and arpeggios such as the Aeolian and Harmonic minor scales. ( I’m a bit of a music nerd.) Then I always have a set of songs ready just in case I have something booked on short notice. I also give private guitar and piano lessons so I always have to make sure I have my theory down and my lessons prepared. When I do have extra time I just listen to some of my favorite songs and improvise for inspiration on a solo I want to write with a similar feel or subject.  

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
Stay true to yourself and your passion for music. If you come across negativity and doubters on your journey as an artist, KEEP GOING! It typically means you’re doing something right. Most importantly, remain yourself and keep the integrity of who you are close to your heart. Have faith in yourself and don’t forget to thank those along your journey who believe in you and encourage you to continue on.

My father and my willpower are the only two reasons I’ve stuck with music as long as I have. My dad has been there with me every step of the way. He was with me at music shops buying my first guitar, at every rehearsal session, at every guitar lesson I took when I was first learning how to play, at every junior high school music concert when I played trumpet as a kid, and now at every gig I have. He has always been there to support me. I am forever grateful for that because it is never easy to chase your dreams but I want to remind others that it’s always worth the fight.

If you can envision yourself on stage doing what you love, you can make it happen. You have to keep dreaming and believing with your whole heart that you are capable and worthy of seeing your dreams come to life. Don’t quit when it’s hard and don’t lose focus when you win, keep reinventing yourself! You got it.

Follow Jennale on social media @guitarist_jennale.