Tone Talk with Townsend

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My name is Townsend. I am a singer-songwriter from Arkansas. I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember. The drums were my first musical love! Once I got into college, I transitioned to guitar and vocals. I was the frontman for an alternative-pop-rock band for several years. In 2016, my best friend and drummer passed away unexpectedly. I immediately lost interest in music. After months of grieving and feeling lost and zero music, I wrote a song called “Show Me Home.” It was in that moment I knew how important music was to me. It was truly my saving grace. It lit an entirely new passion and purpose for me.

Fast forward to today, I’ve participated in international festivals, songwriting festivals with some of the biggest names to date, performed in many states, recorded with one of the best audio engineers in Nashville, gathered endorsements from some of the biggest music brands, and started a mental health movement and podcast called “You’re Not Alone” with Townsend.

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
Technically, tone is your duration, pitch, loudness, etc. Tone, to me, is what truly gives a song its own feel! There’s a significant difference in a great guitar player and a guitar player with great tone. I think with practice and finding your nitch, you find your unique tone and what fits your music best. My tone has definitely changed over the years! I went from punk rock grungy tones to acoustic bright tones. The choices are endless.

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
I currently use a Mayson guitar. I fell in love with it the instant I played it! It has a very distinct tone and sound. When playing solo, I go for the lightest, easiest, and best-sounding setup. I use a K&K sound system pickup, which helps with my loudness and levels. When I perform solo acoustic shows, I plug this straight into my L1 compact Bose system, and it gives a fantastic sound!

What about strings?
In the last year or two, I started using Elixir strings. I will never go back! These strings are long-lasting, have the best tone, and are so bright! I love that there are so many makes and models. There is literally a string made for any sound you want! I personally love the Phospher Bronze Nanowebs.

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
If your band is tight, there is nothing cooler than doing a full live take! There’s something amazing about the vibe and grooviness of everyone jamming at the same time.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
Practice, practice, practice, and research. With time, you will find a sound you prefer and that fits your style. I have a setup that I know like the back of my hand, and I always ensure it’s set up for the best experience for my audience.

What does your practice consist of?
I have learned how important practicing care for your instruments is. So practicing maintenance and care is crucial. I use humidifiers for my guitar, tuneups, cleanings, etc. I also treat my voice as an instrument. I do vocal exercises, proper hydration, proper techniques, etc. As far as actual practice goes, I love learning songs I’ve recently heard and setting aside time every day to sit and master my setlists. You can never know too much! 

Favorite guitar riff or lick that inspired you to play guitar?
I recently ran across Celisse. She is a stellar guitarist! Her bluesy-Americana riffs inspire me to do better!

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
You do you! You will have a LOT of feedback, especially as a female, do not let it discourage you. Keep going and remembering your “why.” Why you play, why you love it, why you are doing what you do.