Tone Talk with Jimena Fosado

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 11 – Spring 2020 – SoCal Inspired

My name is Jimena Fosado. I’m 23 years old and I am a guitarist and composer. I’m an alumnus from Musicians Institute. I currently work for a musical as the lead guitarist. I’ve done arena tours, US tours, and festivals, as well as TV appearances on FOX Sports, Latin American TV Network, and more. I’m sponsored by PRS Guitars, Elixir Strings, and EMG pickups. I’ve played with Steve Vai, Scott Page (Sax – Pink Floyd), Plain White T’s, Mike Beal (Earth, Wind and Fire), among others. Besides being a hired gun, I have my own solo project “Jimena Fosado” that features metal, rock, and EDM.

I’d love to share with you some info that could be useful for you.

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?

Tone is the voice of your guitar and also of your fingers. It’s the sound that defines you. My tone has drastically changed over the years. I used simple distortion back in the day. I just wanted to sound “as rocker as possible” (terrible, honestly) without caring about anything else! Throughout the years, I learned about different sounds, EQ, mixing, and different elements that enriched the tone. I had to research online and experiment to find something my ear liked as well as my fingers. Talking to other people helps to know their perspective as well. Once you have a good tone, the fretboard feels “buttery.” You forget about time because you’re focused on ideas!

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?

I use PRS Guitars for recording and live shows. I really love the brand; it’s so comfortable and sounds amazing. Not to mention the stunning looks from the wood.

I use EMG Pickups. I’ve been using them since I started playing. My favorite set has been 89XR and 89X to split the single coil if needed. I love having options and variety of sounds while using one guitar.

For pedals, I currently use Line 6 Helix as well as the BOSS GT 100. Depending on the tour, I switch them based on the sounds I can get from either pedalboard, or, most importantly, the one that covers the needs for the gig. For my current tour, we go directly to the mixer because we can’t have amps on the platforms we have on stage (we’re above singers and dancers). So pedalboards are my thing for now. They’re more practical, and you can take them anywhere without having to worry about a big and heavy bulb amp that can break anytime.

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I’m not against digital sounds but it does feel different from having an analog pedal with an amp. If I had to say, my fav amps are EVH 5150 and the Orange MKIII. Total beasts!

What about strings?

I play with Elixir Strings. I am in love with them. Everyone knows they last a long time but besides that, the sound is pretty amazing. I like the tone and the feel they have. I’ve never broken a string from them (let me tell you, I could go hard on them at times), and on tour, we play a lot. So I’m happy they are all I need; they last and sound bright!

I’d also like to mention the support from the company is remarkable. I’m really happy with them!

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?

I have recorded with a real amp as well as DI with plugins or with a pedalboard. I honestly like them all. I need to adapt to the artists’ needs, so anything works for me. For my solo project, I use an interface and go direct to the DAW. It’s the simplest way for me plus I’m already used to it.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?

The perk of having pedalboards is that the patches are saved so I don’t have to worry about it too much. However, there could be times that the mix changes depending on the venue or if I’m using in-ears, I could tweak a little bit. That’s not so often though. The important thing is that my tone has to feel comfortable to my ears and my fingers.

What does your practice consist of?

When I’m on tour, I don’t have a schedule to practice but I try to warm up and do few exercises before the show. My practice time usually consists of scales, improvisation, learning phrases or transcribing a few licks. I try figuring out new sequences or patterns that can be useful in a solo. I do practice a lot of different sequences and symmetrical patterns on certain scales. I try to make it fun. I try switching up few things every day. Maybe ear training or find something new on YouTube. There are lots of things to learn!

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?

I know everyone says, “Never give up,” but it’s true!! You may face challenges, just don’t let those stop you. It’s not easy all the time, it’s all about working hard and getting out there. Forget about your fears! Believe in yourself and keep knocking on doors. I did that and I still do it.

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