Tone Talk with Kanami Tono

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 15 – Spring 2021 – Electrified!

BAND-MAID is a band that cranks out hard rock sounds while we are adorned in cute maid outfits. My name is Kanami Tono. I play guitar, and I also write our songs. My favorite guitarist is Carlos Santana, and I often feel that it is his playing that supports me emotionally. My songwriting has been influenced by countless artists, both in Japanese and Western music.

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
To me, “tone” is a way for me to express my individuality, my character. In fact, sometimes, I think that tone may divulge too much of my personality. I have never given much thought to whether my perception of tone has changed; I imagine it has.

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
I play a PRS Customer 24 (Korina neck and body) and a Custom 24 (Mahogany neck and body). I think they are ideal for the BAND-MAID sound. I just feel so comfortable when I hold them, and they are very easy for me to play.

I use a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier with a 4X24 Rectifier Standard cabinet. When we were searching for a new BAND-MAID sound, this is where our searching led us. Also, its three channels make it very versatile–I can use them in many ways.

Two of my many effectors are my Free The Tone ARC-3 Controller and the FT-2Y Digital Delay. The controller has no lag time when switching, and it is very easy to control and manage. The delay is also very convenient for me since it allows for so many settings to dial in the sounds that I want. I also find that FTT products are very reliable. I also use a DigiTech Polyphonic Drop Tune Pedal. When performing, I use it to drop down a semitone; while in the studio, it is handy when recording tracks in lower octaves.

What about strings?
Basically, I use 10-46 gauge. When recording, sometimes I will use 11-48 or 11-52. I prefer strings that aren’t too slick and produce a more natural sound.
Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?

We typically start with the backing track. Then we add a track to add fullness, followed by guitar melody tracks. Often, we add the guitar solo at the end.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
I have my pedalboard set up so that my effectors and amps are always synced. Our basic sound and EQ is always the same, so we tweak it for each venue.

What does your practice consist of?
Every day, I do a fundamentals regimen for about an hour. Each month, I create a new menu for this regimen and make it a daily routine. Besides that, I work on areas that I’m not comfortable with in my own songs, or I copy phrases from artists that I like.

Favorite guitar riff or lick that inspired you to play guitar?
When I heard the phrases in Larry Carlton’s “Room 335,” that’s when I decided to really get serious with my guitar playing. It really moved me.

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
To be honest, there have been a lot of difficulties and hardships, but they were easily offset by all the fun I’ve had. I know it takes courage to keep pushing and challenging and to stay the path, but you only live once! My suggestion is to just have fun, and together we can really stimulate the music industry for future women as well!

Photo provided by PRS with permission to use.