Interviews are usually done during the promotional stage of an album or a tour – and then they centre around these topics. However, albums and shows wouldn’t exist if the interview partners weren’t such enthusiastic instrumentalists. In our series „Saitengespräche“ (pun: „string talks“/“side conversations“) we want to take this into account – with interviews that focus entirely on instruments, amplifiers, effects, and other tech stuff. From gear nerds for gear nerds – and for those who aspire to be.
In part 33 of the series we talk to Prika Amaral, guitarist of NERVOSA.
When did you start playing guitar?
I started in 1999, when I was 14 years old.
What made you want to learn guitar back then?
I always loved music, when I was baby I was always singing and playing music with my toys. But when I became a teenager I wanted to learn this more seriously and the guitar always was my favorite instrument. I was learning more about metal and I thought this was very cool and I wanted to do the same.
Have you already learned (had to learn) another instrument before?
I was vocalist in a hardcore band 15 years ago, I also played bass in some projects and I’m learning piano and drums, but just for fun nothing serious.
Do you remember which model was your first guitar?
Oh, yeah! I still have it. It is a black stratocaster model with one humbucker on the neck, one single coil in the middle and another humbucker on the bridge. This resembles a classical Ibanez, but it is a brazilian brand and I changed everything, because I love to customize everything
How many guitars do you own?
Six for a while…(laughs).
Do the instruments have different uses for you, so do you have different ones for different bands or occasions, like studio, live gigs and holidays?
Actually, all my guitars are for heavy metal. I have three flying V with EMG pickups, two of them are with floyd rose and one with a fixed bridge. I also have one strato with two humbuckers and one singlecoil in the middle (this was my first guitar), and one explorer guitar with two passive pickups. But I would love to have a blues guitar too.
What do you attach particular importance to from a technical point of view, what criteria must an instrument meet for you to be satisfied with it?
For me there is no regret or formula. To be a musician and have an instrument is a reflextion of your personality, and this means there is nothing right or wrong about your taste. The music let’s us be whatever we want. And I think, If you have enough experience you will know how to make a good sound with any instrument.
You often hear about musicians who seem to have a special connection to their instrument. Do you feel the same way? Do you have a favourite instrument?
This means that you acustomated and feel comfortable with something, that you really know everything. I‘ acustomated with flying V models, especially with Nite V Kramer, because it’s shape is very comfortable and fits very well on my body, and I love the sound of my amplifier Pedrone, it sounds unique. These are my favorites, I don’t want to change it.
Did you make special modifications to it, or is it a custom model anyway? Can you tell us the technical details here?
I always change stuff on my guitars, I like customized things. On my guitars I changed the pickups and I changed the paint and also some eletronic stuff inside. The string pack is customized as well, I used seven string models from SG strings, but I took off the G string, this way I have the three strongest strings and the three thinest strings. Much easier to play solos (laughs). I have a distortion cutomizes pedal developed by Eds Mod Shop and me and my amplifier made by Pedrone with my pedal inside.
Is there a model, such as the instrument of a great role model, that you would like to play one day?
I would love to have all guitars in the world, but my next step will be to buy a guitar with maple wood and have a guitar more for blues and Rock n Roll. I just have metal guitars, I miss one to play more rock-sounds.
Which type of guitar picks do you use – and why this type?
I use Jazz III, small and hard. The pick is perfect for solos and rhytm guitars and I can hold it much, because it is small so the controll is better
Amps are often leased for tours – is that okay with you or do you have your own amp with you? Which model do you play?
I have my own amplifier and I take it with me everywhere! It is a Pedrone model Prika Amaral, this has a unique sound devepoled by Pedron, Ed and me.
Besides the instrument and the amplifier, sound effects play an important role in the sound. Do you rely on single pedal mines, a multi-effect board or a combination?
I’m simple person and I love practicity. I don’t like too much stuff and complicated things, thats why I use the minimum, my amplifier, noise gate and delay, nothing more.
Let’s go into detail: Please explain the elements of your effect loop. Which devices do you use, in which order and why?
Inside of my amplifier I have my own pedal, so on the floor I just have the noise gate, but I almost don’t use it because this amplifier is noiseless. In some venues the electricity brings noise, so I have the NG there to help to control this extra noise and I use the delay for the solos. This is enough for me, I don’t need more.
Mind game: You are only allowed to take one single (!) effect on stage – which one do you choose? Which effect pedal makes up your sound?
What makes my sound better are my hands. I practice I lot and and my sound gets better and better. There isn’t any pedal that can make your sound better than your own hands.
Do you have an effect that you use in a completely different way than originally intended, or that you have perhaps even (re)built yourself?
I have my own drive pedal inside of my amplifier. That makes my life easier.
Do you use a noise gate – why (not)?
Yes, I think a NG is very necessessary for everyone, especially for those who use highgain.
Is your effect board „ready“ or in constant change?
I almost don’t use anything, so there is almost nothing to change.
Finally, do you have a tip for beginning musicians?
Be free, make music with love. Music is not a competition, please never forget the feeling of music. There are no rules for the music, be yourself and practice to be good, but have your own style.