Hey readers. My name is Filippa Nässil, I’m a Swedish guitar player and I founded the band ThunderMother back in 2009. I had a vision of doing my own thing after having problems to fit in other groups. I played electric guitar in college, and I was the only girl, and I had to play Toto, Van Halen, and Yngwie Malmsteen for that period of time. When I truly discovered the entertainment part of myself, I decided to play classic rock. Guernica Mancini (vox) and Emlee Johansson (drums) joined in 2017, and Mona Lindgren (bass) joined in 2022. Since then, we’ve toured the hell out of Europe, played Wacken Open Air three times (one time on the biggest stage), and played the Kiss Kruise. Bands like Inflames and Airbourne mentioned us on stage, online, and in magazines. We are four power ladies with loads of energy on stage!
What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
When I was young, my playing tone wasn’t refined. My vibrato sounded like Zakk Wylde and was huge. As a grew older, I fell in love with the wood of the guitar and lifting the hand away from the strings and used the wood as a resonator of the note I played. I’ve practiced the “rabbit” vibrato that Angus Young has and my favorite vibrato is Eric Clapton’s. I’m in the middle of a huge Zakk Wylde vibrato and the rabbit. Just “lagom” as we say in Sweden, which means not too much and not too little. I’m very proud of my tone playing-wise, and I’ve worked so many hours to have it. I play hard and fast to get the open chords to sound big and full of attack. And sometimes extremely slow so you can hear each string of a chord. I’m tired of power chords and only use them as a bridge to the real good stuff.
Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
I’ve only played on Marshall since I started. I freaking love it! To riff on a Gibson Explorer in front of a full Marshall stack with low gain but loud is a turn-on. I’m using JCM800 live, but an old JMP super lead from 1975 on the albums. I’ll use the JCM800 for solos with full gain, though, to have it more hard rock-style sounding. I don’t have any pedals in between. I use a POG octave in one song, however, a talk box in one, and a Phase 90 Van Halen Signature in one, but that’s just for the sound of those particular songs. I have two boosters that I use regularly depending on what sound I want. I prefer the treble booster, mostly.
What about strings?
I have a hard attack, and I play really rough. I need to change strings every second gig, at least. Back in the day, I had heavy bottom for the Malcolm Young sound that I love, but since we play so often, my fingers got damaged. Now I use regular 10s and have my own signature strings that anyone can buy. They are nickel wounded. Skull Strings is the brand and made for heavier music, and they can stand pretty much sweat and punch. Check it out.
Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
I do prefer one song at a time, so I don’t have to make all solos and licks on the last days. We take turns in the studio and finish song by song, so we all are more involved in the band. But I have to wake up early, and every morning, I sit by myself with the producer since I have to record everything twice for the left and right guitar in the mix. It takes double the amount of time, so I have to be there many hours for it to sound tight.
How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
I need a bit louder on the amp than what the sound technicians want to get that crunch out of the Marshall JCM800. If the amp needs to be on a low volume, then I’m pretty screwed and probably need one of my two boosters on all the time.
What does your practice consist of?
Timing timing timing. And new licks. Jam along to any track and be tight is the key I believe in sounding professional. Not being fast or anything like that, but to be tasteful. I play a lot of blues, and it’s a good practice. Anyone can do that on YouTube. However, I’m a fast learner, so I don’t practice enough, really. I can copy many things, and if I did practice more, I would be great. That is something I’m working on. When I’m doing songs in my little studio, I take a break and play guitar for 20 minutes, and that’s a good routine I recently started with.
Favorite guitar riff or lick that inspired you to play guitar?
Keith Richards’s chords, that’s what I call them, are used in so much music. It’s also called the Am7 shape for some. When I discovered I could riff around any chords in the same way, it was a huge eye-opener, and it’s really rock ‘n’ roll sounding, too. Kiss is doing the same thing in almost every song, but I call them “The Kieth chords,” haha. The girls have heard me talk about that many times with excitement, haha! Also, the open A is the key for trying out any amp. I don’t get guys in the music shops pretending to try out amps with fast solos! The way to hear if an amp is for YOU is just to play “A” with one finger and mute the “e and B” strings by opening up the palm a little bit. I play with my whole right hand on every string and mute with the left. Try it, I did, and try all amps like that! Then you really hear.
What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
Do your thing, don’t listen to anybody. When no one believed in me and even tried to push me down, I believed in me, and I worked out. I’m touring arenas now with the Scorpions in the States! Never give up, keep on pushing through long term, and you’ll make it! Do it for life, not for a quick fix.
Filippa Nässil Gear List
Gibson explorer Lzzy Hale signature 2017 Gibson explorer custom LTD 2017 Gibson SG standard 2013
Gibson J-45 limited edition 2019
Nik Huber Krautster (blue with Bigsby)
Engelhard Thunder Lady hand-made for me with TV Jones filtertron pickup
Engelhard Thunder X with noise cancelling P-90 pickups (David Barfuss; Mojo Tone)
Marshall head JCM800 from 1987
Marshall head JMP from 1975
Marshall cabinet 1987
Marshall cabinet 1990
Skipper amp “Lil’ Hellevator”
Skipper amp “R’N’R Disastor” (custom made for Filippa)
Eddie Van Halen Phaser
Cry Baby mini
One control booster
One control reverb
One control orange distortion
Shure wireless guitar system