Cassidy of the all-girl rock band The Anti Groupies from Orange County, California, fills us in on her definition of tone, guitar gear, recording and practice techniques, and advice for aspiring young female musicians.
What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
My definition of tone is the amount of cleanness, distortion, twang, etc., you have on your amp. I think tone has changed over the years depending on the genre of music that has been popular. Back in the blues and jazz days, a more clean twangy tone was used, while in the ’70s – ’90s, they loved big stacks with powerful distortion for the classic rock and metal tones.
Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
I have a Fender Champion 100 Combo Amp, and the main pedal I use is the new Mesa Boogie Throttle Box. It has one of the best rock/ distortion tones I’ve ever heard from a pedal. I set my amp to the best clean tone I can get it to, and then I let the pedal do all the work so the sound doesn’t get too fuzzy.
What about strings?
For strings, I use Ernie Ball 9 or 10-gauge strings. I would say these are the most common and pretty standard strings to use. I change my strings about every two months and clean/ oil my fretboard.
Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
When recording guitar, I can’t record guitar dry (without any effects) because it is hard for me to envision what it will sound like with the whole song, and since Im so used to playing it live, it throws me off. I like it to record at least with a little bit of whatever effect I normally play with live, and then we can go back and really mix and master it, just so I get that tightness and feeling of playing live, which is what I want to capture in the recording.
How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
This I find really difficult since I’m always messing with my pedals and amps, but since I’ve been playing for a while now, I feel like I’ve got my desired sound pretty dialed in. I mainly set my amp to an ideal clean tone and let my pedals do the work.
What does your practice consist of?
Hours and hours and hours of practice, just sitting in my room learning and writing songs, practicing scales, and creating riffs and solo lines in certain keys that are go-to’s for improvising. Just honestly, putting time in is key. I feel like if I practice like an hour, take a 30-minute break, and come back to it, I give it time to sit and process, and then I retain it, and it comes easier to me. Even though frustration and sore, calloused fingers come with it, practice as long and as much as you can to be the best musician you can be.
Favorite guitar riff or lick that inspired you to play guitar?
I think for everyone when learning guitar they always want to learn the super iconic guitar licks that they want to show off, so I think a couple that I can remember were “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne (which I think every guitar player can say), “Beating Around The Bush” by AC/DC, and “Crazy on You” by Heart.
What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
My advice would be to not let anyone make you think for even a second that you are not just as capable to be in the music industry as anyone else. I grew up being a singer, but I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was about 15. For years, guys would tell me to “put down the guitar” and make comments and remarks to me. For a while, I would overthink it and wonder if they were right and I should just focus on singing. You would be surprised by the misogyny me and my band still face in 2023. I knew I loved playing guitar even more than I liked to sing, and I wasn’t going to let anyone take that away from me. If you want to play an instrument, no matter how old you are, do it. Everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.