Monday, January 6, 2020
THE AXEMEN Interview Parasitic : Carlos Miranda
1.Tell us your name and the band you play for
My name is Carlos Miranda i play guitar and write for a band called Parasitic.
2.Who made you want to pick up the guitar
When Iron Maiden live after death came out on vhs I watched it over and over and always wanted to play bass like Steve Harris. I believe it was mostly him that inspired me.
My father also tried to get me to play guitar or bass most of my childhood. I never took to his suggestions which frustrated him. When i was about ten years old we moved to Hollywood it was about that time I let him know that I just wasnt a musician and told him to give up trying. Eventually time passed and two friends in junior high (about 1990) suggested we start a band and that I play guitar since my Dad played. Without hesitation I said ok ,I was about 13 years old. After that I was inspired by James Hetfield. Seek and destroy was probably the first complete song I learned. I suppose the real answer is my Dad in some round about way.
3.Are you self taught or did you take lessons?
Definitely self taught. There was only one real lesson my father strongly enforced. Which was that if I was to play guitar in his house, i had to learn how to tune the guitar. So before i would start learning riffs he would make me tune up. He bought me a pitch pipe tuner that had the notes to tune to kind of like a harmonica. When i would get the guitar in tune I would take it to him. He would check it out and say thats pretty good then detune the guitar and say do it again. Usually it took between three to five times before he would leave me alone. It use to frustrate me but as time went on I realized he was doing me a favor. I have of course learned riffs etc either by ear or tablature. Learning by ear was a direct result of those tunning lessons, which helped me develop a ear for sound. I also use to pick up old guitar player and guitar world magazines at the swapmeet and learn song fragments or licks. These days its alot easier between apps and youtube to learn how to play guitar or learn news chops. I highly recommend apps like songster or guitar pro for beginners. Also all the guitar grimoire books.
4. Can you read music, Can you read tab?
I do not know how to read music I was learning for a few months just out of highschool but never applied it to my instrument so I never quite got it. I recommend learning that and at least basic theory makes things alot easier. I can read tablature although I do better by ear but I no longer have the time learn by ear so I use tabs. I rarely ever learn anything most of my time with the guitar is spent on sound exploration and riff ideas. I use a mp3 voice recorder to catch most of my riff ideas before taking them to protools to further explore the riff concepts.
5.Do you feel like you have your own sound / tone ?
I definitely do feel that I do have both my own sound and tone. I believe it stems mostly from my lack of proper form when it comes to picking. I have heard people call it banana thumb, ha. Basically instead of pinching the guitar pick in, I push it out almost like holding a pencil. Definitely a bad technique but sometimes seems to lead to a different approach to riffing so I've been told. I have thought about fixing it but evertime I've tried I just revert back to what I do. Also the time spent away from learning peoples music and exploring my own ideas and approaches to guitar helps in identifying your own identity or sound.
6.Tell us about your guitar ( brand ,model . year , color ) In our early days as Parasitic I picked up alot of overtime and bought two of the best guitars I had at that time. One was a American made BC Rich V translucent black mahogony body ebony fret board hardtail neckthru, Grover Imperial tuners Emg's. The other was a American made Beast with fluorescent green bevel, black body, string thru and neckthru made of Alder with Grover Imperials ( The Alder was not my favorite had a thin tone which led to me selling it). Just about two years ago I picked up a Jackson import warrior wrmg olive drab and black with EMG's. As soon as I layed eyes on it, I had to order one. The Jackson plays great its so smooth. I had picked this up to experiment more with a Floyd Rose for solos and have now decided to go floyd on all my guitars. I just recently traded my BCRich V for 2 guitars a semi finished Bernie Rico Jr Vixen and a unfinished Bernie Rico Jr vixen basically the same guitar. The first Vixen is a neckthru mahogany quilted head stock Emg 81,85( this is my standard on all guitars) on this particular guitar has no tone and a pick up toggle with Grover Imperial tuners, floyd rose. These guitars have great tone just like my mahagony BCRich because they are basically the same guitar made by the same people.I still have to get the action and intonation set on this guitar. I am currently buying the parts to complete my second BRJ Vixen just waiting on a floyd rose on this one I will have the Emg 81/ Emg 60 at the neck found a good set online for $100 so thought I'd try out the 60. I also have a few guitars my Father recently gave me one is a yamaha classical cg-150cce, a ovation 1869 custom legend and a Epiphone Les Paul which i use for normal music.
7.What about pickups? Passive or active ?
Well i guess i already answered this to elaborate I am a big fan of thrash guitar sound and find Emg 81/85 combo to be just the tone I am looking for. Early Metallica & Slayer was always my favorite tone growing up so I still play this setup. I am curious about trying some Bill and Betty Lawrence's on a guitar someday I have yet to try anything else. This could potentially be the reason I am never quite happy with my tone. I'll have to try some other pick ups for sure and see if it is true.
8.Lets get into amplification, Same drill brand , model , speakers etc
I use to be a gear hound I have bought many amps and cabinets ranging from Marshall jcm 900, 800 to Mesa triple rectifier, crate, carvin etc. I could never get the guitar tone I've wanted out of them even had rack mount gear dual band eq's sonic maximizer, compressor/gate etc I tried many different amps eventually I settled on a Line 6 flextone II head was never completely satisfied with this either but was convenient to have the floorboard to switch channels,effects and had a decent sound. I used this set up the most with a Mesa cab. Back in 2006 a friend of mine left his very lowline Marshall over for a few weeks and out of curiosity I decided to try it out. It sounded a bit muddy straight but could get some semi decent tone out of it with less than desired distortion but i gave it a try during Parasitic rehearsal. Surprisingly the amp cut through more than any other amp I had tried before. The amps stand alone guitar tone wasnt the best but it cut through the drum tones well and could hear the riffing more clearly. So when I decided to start Parasitic again and on a budget I opted for the very same Marshall which will get me boos for even mentioning it. It is the Marshall 100rcd its a beginner Marshall fits the budget and along with a Marshall guv,nor it sounds great! Although to be honest I no longer have a guv'nor. I have an old dana electro Daddy-O distortion pedal that i found. The pedal had been laying around and one day I read somewhere that it is basically a Marshall Guv'nor clone. So I set it up and it works and sounds great. I definitely plan on spray painting that ugly ass pedal black one of these days. So the short answer is Marshall 100rcd an old beat up crate blue voodoo cab.The cab has original Crate Vintage (Custom Eminence) speakers sounds fairly decent.On a budget this set up set me back $80 for the 160watt head and $45 dollars for the cabinet which is a very humble beginning for the second coming of the band. Both head and cab are without covers just down to the wood and plan on sanding them down and lackering them. I like the old warn look I'm tired of the black sleak look of everything. I also have a line 6 flextone II combo thats 200watts that is my backup. I also plan on getting a better cabinet I feel this is the thing that really can not be compromised.
9.Do you have a pedal board? Tell us about that badboy
I am currently working on building a pedal board out of an old scrap aluminum diamond plate. At the moment i have a very basic setup the dana electro Daddy-O, a Boss noise suppressor and a Boss compression sustainer to tighten up the low end and enhance the distortion. So not much to tell on that subject just yet.
10..Now tell us your Dream Rig in detail…..
I no longer have a dream rig more of a minimalist these days i really appreciate Chuck Schuldiner and his simple setup. Cheap easy reliable gets the job done. He has left such a legacy with a very simple humble rig. I really respect that. Good tone comes from fingers, thick picks and a few knobs.
11.What guitarist can you not stand?
12. Is tone more important or is technique?
Definitely technique you can buy all the best gear have it set up professionally and still sound like shit. Technique can be conveyed through a tiny practice amp and still impress.
13. Name your top 5 guitarist
14.Who is the most overrated guitarist
Tom Morello only because a digitech whammy gives him his identity. It feels like a crutch and he doesn't need a crutch he is a good guitarist.
15.Who would you like a one hour private sit down lessons with anyone dead or alive?
Not sure, it would be between Paul Gilbert, Marty Freidman and Darrel Abbott. Its hard for me to decide between them. I think Paul Gilbert is the better teacher. So maybe with him i would garner the most information in a one hour lesson.