“Essentially, I’m cheating at the guitar”: Tom Quayle

The British guitarist shares his unique approach to the six-string and why he uses the eccentric tuning known as "all 4ths".

With his elegant legato style and precision picking, Tom Quayle stands at the forefront of fusion. We caught up with the British guitarist and YouTube star to chat about his gear, influences and why he prefers an eccentric tuning known as “all 4ths”.

One of Quayle’s calling cards is his preference for tuning his electric guitar in intervals of fourths. So rather than the standard EADGBE tuning, he opts for EADGCF. This alternate tuning, he says, helps him better visualise the fretboard and change chord shapes more quickly.

“The guitar is not a symmetrical instrument”, Quayle explains. “In my tuning, you can play an E major, move it down a string set, and it’s still a major chord. It’s still symmetrical, and I can do this for every chord shape. Essentially, I’m cheating at the guitar. I’ve made it much easier to visualise when you’re improvising, playing crazy chord changes, or even coming up with simple stuff. There’s not an extra step that you have to take in order to see things on the instrument”.

In addition to his preference for the all 4ths tuning, Quayle also revealed a love for delay effects, which plays an important role in his sound. “I am a really big delay fan. If you turn the delay off, all the fun is gone. I like stereo delays [as well as] tape delays with a 400 to 500ms delay. I like a modulated wash behind the sound and I find that sound [without delay] is a bit bare. I find I play better with [delay]”.

“I like my delays to have the high-end rolled off – similar to that of a guitar amp – at around 7 or 8K. You can have the mix pretty wet, but it doesn’t get in the way of you playing as the high-end is rolled off”.

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Watch the video above for the full interview.

Check out Tom Quayle’s YouTube channel here.

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