Chanelle Ignant is a Los Angeles native guitarist that currently resides in Oakland, Calif. She began taking guitar lessons at 13 because of her grandmother’s insistence. “It feels like I’ve had these invitations to play guitar throughout my life. My grandmother said she just had a hunch and told me to find a teacher in the yellow pages when I was about 13. When I started playing again in my mid-twenties, a good friend invited me to play in her band for a fundraiser. At the fundraiser, I met someone who I eventually started jamming with, and then I met another person, and another . . . and I just cultivated a network of people who inspired me to keep learning and growing.
After graduating college, I drifted away from playing music in general. I didn’t have other musicians to play with and didn’t feel the desire to pursue it. I also remember feeling like I wasn’t good enough to play with people. I remember writing and learning a few songs, but they didn’t feel worth sharing. I wish I had more courage to take risks and put myself out there back then!”
Her love for the guitar was awakened, and she hasn’t let go of the guitar since. Her sound comes from the foundation music lessons she’s had in jazz guitar combined with acoustic vibes from John Mayer (that she was obsessed with in high school) as well as the rhythmic-melodic tapestry of folks like Anita Baker, Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson, Maze, and others that she was immersed in as a kid. Chanelle currently plays with several bands and projects, including Kah Liberation, Vibe Muzik, guitar behind singer Deja Bryson, and bass with Lizzy Dutton.
What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
Tone is flavor; the key ingredients are mixed to give musicians their unique sounds. I’m constantly searching for my tone, looking for clean, warm, round-sounding “ingredients that sing in harmony with each other.” Honestly, my tone hasn’t changed much for me! I’ve always been drawn to a clean sound over crunch and distortion.
Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using?
I love my Gibson SG standard because of the thin neck paired with a lightweight body that makes it easy to play. My Epiphone 339 was the first electric guitar I bought in 2016 after a long hiatus. I love versatility, so it’s usually my go-to travel guitar. Regarding acoustics, I’ve always played Yamaha guitars.
When it comes to amps, I love playing my Quilter Mini Head into a Mesa Boogie Mini Rectifier cabinet and my Roland JC-40. Both give me exactly what I need with my extensive setup.
Whew! I have so many pedals, but my current board setup has a Dunlop Mini Volume pedal, a Dunlop Mini Wah, an EHX Soul Food, an Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer, an MXR Phase 95, a Line 6 M5, a Malekko EKKO 616 Dark Delay, a BOSS DD-7, and finally a TC Electronic HALL OF FAME.
What about strings?
I play D’Addario strings all the way!
Are there specific recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
Not really, but I’m always open to trying new techniques that the engineer might suggest!
How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
I’m still working on this, but I use similar tone settings on my guitar and amp.
What does your practice consist of?
I’m usually practicing material for a gig. Still, I’ve also tried several practice routines over the years and typically vary them depending on what technique I want to improve. I’m working on breaking out root-based chord shapes and building simple lead lines for my solos. Every day I spend time playing triad inversions up and down the neck and playing simple two or three-note lines over looped progressions (Thanks Lillie Robinson for the tip!).
What advice for young female-identifying artists hoping to work in the music industry?
Surround yourself with folks that inspire you and build time for reflection after gigs! I’ve learned to accept things once they’re done and learn from my mistakes. Lastly, make time to rest!