Sandberg Masvidalien Cosmo (video and review) - Jemsite
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 718
Sandberg Masvidalien Cosmo (video and review)

Here's a link to the written review (for those who care to read about it), and with the video I did on the guitar:
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Re: Sandberg Masvidalien Cosmo (video and review)

Paul Masvidal Q&A

Paul Masvidal is a renowned guitarist, songwriter, composer and international touring artist. Heís best known for his work with Cynic, but had his hand in Deathís landmark album Human. He furthered his music creativity by establishing Aeon Spoke and has written music for television and motion pictures (through Still Motion Music), including the main title for the Emmy nominated NBC series Operation Junkyard, scoring the series H2, and having worked as a session guitarist for That 70s Show and 3rd Rock from the Sun., As well, he produced and played guitar on actor Jim Carreyís childrenís book and accompanying soundtrack, How Roland Rolls. One of Paulís latest projects include Onward with Love (OwL), a musical collaboration with singer-songwriter Amy Correia, which music integrates elements of American blues, jazz and prog rock.

The music you have been involved in range greatly, likely making you one of the most versatile working guitar players out there. You have fused elements of progressive rock and metal, and even jazz, and then delved into television and movie soundtrack development. I would be interested to know what musicians and albums over the years influenced your playing.

My earliest inspirations were Andres Segovia, John Williams, Julian Bream, Django Reinhardt. Jimmy Page with Zeppelin of course, Alex Lifeson and much of early Rush's catalog, Andy Summers with the Police and their early records, Steve Howe with Yes, Randy Rhoads with Ozzy, Brian May and Queen, Steve Lukather, and Eddie Van Halen.

Then came players Alan Holdsworth, John Mclaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and some of John's solo records like My Goals Beyond were huge for me, Robert Fripp and The League of Crafty Guitarists, Adrian Belew, King Crimson's Discipline record is one of my all time faves, Greg Howe's album Introspection, Shawn Lane, Jason Becker' s Perpetual Burn, TJ Helmerich, Steve Vai's Flex-Able and Passion and Warfare, Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien, Frank Zappaís Joeís Garage and Baby Snakes, Warren Cuccurullo, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ron Thal, Scott Henderson (especially early Tribal Tech), Guthrie Govan, Kevin Shields work with My Bloody Valentine (especially the record Loveless opened my ears up to completely new ways)Ö the list goes on and on!

What resonated with me most are guitar players who were willing to try something new, and push the envelope in their own peculiar way. I tend to gravitate towards more outside the box approaches probably because that's what came more naturally for me.

I should add Iíve always been greatly inspired by composers like Bach, Ravel and Jazz pianists, Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans, and Glen Gould who's Bach Goldberg Variations are some of my all time favorite things to listen to. There's also horn players like Charlie Parker, Coltrane, and Eric Dolphy, and Pablo Casals Cello Suites is one of my great joys, Brian Eno's ambient music speaks to me on multiple levels, and Ravi Shankar's records especially his more experimental electronic stuff like Tana Mana is a massive inspiration...the list could go on!
Who do you find inspirational because of unusual talent or abilities?

Alan Holdsworth would be up there due to his sheer originality alone. Holdsworth approached the guitar unlike anyone out there, from his phrasing to tone, everything about his sound is completely fresh and distinct and instantly recognizable. Robert Fripp, especially with the League of Crafty Guitarists and his experimental work with Eno is hugely inspiring, Steve Vai really pushed the envelope as a rock guitarist and I would include Warren Cuccurullo in there as well, both of whom came from Zappa lineage and raised the bar in terms of super creative modern guitar playing in a pop context. Kevin Shields with MBV is sheer madness and beauty in the way he approached layering and the portamento tuning stuff, and then there's Jason Becker who appeared as a neo classical shredder but separated himself due to the deep feeling and melodic sense in his playing that was just absolutely gorgeous. He played with deep heart which put him in a different category than many of the shredders who may have had equal technique but not the same level of soul. Ben Monder is someone who I think is way beyond in terms of harmonic language and approach; he's composing some super deep stuff.

There are so many ways in which a person can compose music and come up with catchy riffs. Do you noodle around until something comes out of it, or do you have a different approach to song writing and honing your guitar skills?

I record song ideas without much editing and then go back and listen to see which ones seem to hold up, or resonate with me most at the time. Itís a process of assembly and disassembly until thereís a realized sense of a tune. I try not to intellectualize the creative process much and let feeling and intuition dictate direction, if possible. In terms of honing guitar skills, good ole practice always seems to work, but I often find myself writing music that forces me to practice and learn something new since it takes me out of my comfort zone, which can make guitar development a lot more interesting than just running scales or technical exercises. I'd rather wrap it in a creative blanket, if possible, so it has more of an immediate practical application.
I noticed you offer private lessons. Is this offered through Skype, in person or by other means? Perhaps you can share some of the concepts you would be teaching for rank beginners up to the more advanced.

I do both in person and Skype lessons, but recently slowed it way down due to my schedule being too tight with other work deadlines. Iím open to exploring nearly anything with a student as long as I feel I have something useful to offer. My favorite components of teaching are songwriting and composition, and developing a tuneÖ whether that be with melodic development, chordal harmony or even constructing a solo in the context of a song can be an interesting process as well.

Previously you played Steinberger guitars, but switched to StrandbergÖ both headless guitar companies. Why the switch and how did that come about?

I was introduced to Ola from Strandberg through my friend Tosin Abasi who owned one I got to play. I immediately connected with the instrument. I still own a bunch of Steinbergers and will always appreciate them. They made some truly cutting edge guitars in their day, but when Ned Steinberger left the company much of the original homegrown luthier passion went with it. I actually do like the ZT3 model they last had, as well, and still own one of those too. Strandberg's attention to detail, practical approach to design, and the sheer ease of playing the instruments is like a dream to me. Of course having my own model is hard to beat in that I get to play my dream guitar, so it's an ideal scenario. They are always open to and interested in feedback from their artists, and are constantly refining their instruments to make the best possible. I'm super grateful they exist!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Posts: 718
Re: Sandberg Masvidalien Cosmo (video and review)

Youíve had two signature guitars through Strandberg. Can you explain the evolution of one guitar to the next, what makes each unique and what is so special about this new guitar? I did notice that the new guitar has only one humbucker and a fixed bridge.

The original Masvidalien is a super refined and more complex instrument. To start with, the body shape is different, and it has a triple layered woods consisting of Maple, Alder and Mahogany, a Maple neck and it also has tremolo, two EMG humbuckers, and a super unique sound unlike any other guitar I own. Due to the complexity of the build, it's a lot more expensive than the Cosmo.
The Cosmo is all about bare bones simplicity, with a single humbucker and a fixed bridge. The body has a poplar burl veneer, a Maple center and a Swamp Ash body, but it's layered in such a way that it appears as one piece of wood. It also has an ebony fretboard and fanned frets which are kinda amazing, especially for more facility in the upper register. Since it only has one humbucker, I added an active eq for the single humbucker which opens up a range of tonal possibilities, making it sound like a single coil or neck hum depending on what you're looking for, which is activated by a two-way toggle that likes like an on/off switch, as if you're switching to a neck pickup. You can tweak and dial in the tone you like with a stacked knob.

The EMG 57 in general is PAF like tonally, and is designed for versatile players. The definition and articulation is just right, and it's organic sounding. Along with having a tight low end, big, aggressive and warm top end, it also cleans up crystal clear which is an important detail for the type of music I produce. The voice is somewhat passive and active with some crazy rich harmonics as well. Iíve been recording with it a lot lately and am amazed and loving the tones coming out of it. It's also ridiculously easy to play. The guitar just sings and has a balanced quality. I'd recommend you listen to the track Humanoid to get a sense, since it's all the Masvidalien Cosmo on that track. All the components on both guitars are top end. What I love about Strandberg is they donít cut corners; their standards are as good as it gets.

Run down some of your other gear, including picks, strings, effects and amps.

For pics I like Jazz IIIís, Cleartone Strings, but with effects Iím all over the place. Iíve been using Positive Grid in the studio a lot lately for recording and I even traveled with an iPad /Bluetooth Positive Grid pedalboard rig on my last Japan tour in 2015. I'm also a big fan of a pedal company called Meris. Terry Burton, who originally founded Strymon created the company. Their Mercury 7 reverb pedal is mind blowingly cool and they have a new Polymoon delay pedal that is kinda Ďan everythingí delay and more pedal.

Youíre likely best known for your work with Cynic. Can you fill us in on whatís happening with the group, your future projects (including Owl), and if you plan on a solo instrumental album?

Cynic just released a new song title "Humanoid" on 1/15/18 from our upcoming record (visit PAUL MASVIDAL (MASVIDALIEN): Musician). We're hoping the full length will see the light of day around Fall 2018. OwL has a completed album that will be released this year as well. And yes, in the background Iíve been slowly working on a solo instrumental guitar record!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 05:28 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 1,064
My local store has two of these in stock; left handed and right handed models. I may have look at the right handed model. Thanks for the video!
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