Tone Talk with Alex Windsor

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 9 – Autumn 2019 – Ladies of Metal

Alex Windsor:  From classical guitar to jazz bass and all styles in between, I am a Los Angeles musician who has experimented with a little bit of everything. Originally from Chicago, I earned my B.A. in Music and immediately began writing, recording, teaching, and touring across the Midwest. I have had the privilege to perform alongside established artists such as Matisyahu, Lita Ford, and Jack Russell’s Great White. I can be heard throughout Southern California with my female-driven rock band, IckyBaby, and filling in on bass for various sessions and jams. When not on stage, I can be found behind the scenes of Guitar Center’s music lesson program as an Educational Affairs Specialist.

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

To me, tone is somewhat of an art form. You hear the sound you want in your head, and then you manifest it by getting all components of the sound to work in tandem. For example, my current project calls for bright, punchy riffs – I have the right gear in place to facilitate that, but I also crank up the treble in my EQ to really deliver the cut that I need. I think my tone has evolved over time in the sense that I am now much more conscious of how it complements the rest of the music. I strive to create a more blended, holistic sound instead of trying to dial in one instrument.

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

My main guitar is an Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent Signature in Polaris White. The odd body shape and versatile pickup configuration are what first attracted me to it, but the gunstock oil and hand-rubbed rosewood neck and fingerboard is what really sealed the deal. I usually play through an Orange Rocker 30 head into an Orange PPC212 2×12 cab. My pedalboard consists of a Dunlop Crybaby wah, an MXR Carbon Copy delay, and an Orange Getaway Driver overdrive. When it comes to bass, I’m all Fender; I play an American Deluxe Jazz V 5-string bass and through a Bassman 800w Hybrid. Fender basses are incredibly versatile yet remain consistent, which is important when filling in with different groups.

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?

I always like to begin by recording a few live scratch tracks with the entire group. Playing through each song without the pressure of accuracy not only provides an outline for the tone but also opens the door for more creativity. I always have a general idea of what I’m going to play on the recording, but there have been little moments that I’ve captured on scratch tracks that have made all the difference.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?

Right now, my secret weapon is my Orange Getaway Driver overdrive pedal. If I find myself in a scenario where I cannot use my regular amp, this pedal helps me to achieve the same crunchy Orange tone that is so vital to the sound of my band.

Alex Windsor – photo by Jack Lue

What does your practice consist of?

I try to have a plan in place each time I sit down to practice. I’ll have a shortlist in mind for the things I really want to focus on. That being said, I never try to force the end result. I find that the most productive practice sessions happen organically. If I start to warm up and then drift in another direction that feels right, I’ll explore that.

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

Get out of your own head! Seriously, I know way too many talented musicians that suffer from imposter syndrome, and it can be detrimental to a career – be bold, confident, and unapologetically yourself. Surround yourself with other musicians or producers that inspire you and absorb as much as you can from them. Set both short and long term goals and complete at least one small task every single day that will help you achieve those goals.

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