Roland Guerin
Model(s) Used: BTB 6-string
Band: Allen Toussaint, Solo Artist
Ibanez: You come from a pretty musical family. How did that influence you growing up?
Roland: It influenced me a lot. We would play music all during the week. On the weekends, we would have jams all the time. There were always drums set up, a piano or organ, guitars, and basses. We played a lot of blues and vamps.

Ibanez: Were there any particular artists that were big influences on your bass playing?
Roland: The first was my Mom. She plays bass. I get that from her. For upright bass, Ron Carter had a big influence on me early on. For electric bass, it's kind of a variety. I like to slap a lot, and that school of Larry Graham, Louis Johnson, and Marcus Miller influenced me a lot. For soloing, a lot of horn players influenced me a bunch and piano players, too.

Ibanez: How has your outlook on bass playing changed over the years?
Roland: When I started playing, I didn't know a whole lot about harmony. So I would basically play melody lines as bass lines. They were really just counter-melodies. From growing into playing 6-string, it's totally changed. I can play a lot of accompaniment. I can even play bass lines and comp in different ways along with a soloist. It's a little different from a piano player, and it's pretty unique.

Ibanez: What do you look for in a good bass sound?
Roland: Tone-wise, one of the first things that I shoot for is clarity and warmth. I like crispness and a deep sound. It has to be punchy, but it also has to sing out.

Ibanez: Was there anything particular that drew you to the BTB basses?
Roland: Yeah, one of the things was its characteristic. I tried a bunch of different basses, and then I would go back to the BTB and it could do the same sound. The 406 was the first one that I tried. I started listening to it and realizing that it could get very similar sounds to all those basses, but it still had a voice of its own. The sounds were similar, but they weren't exact. That was very cool. Then, the bass and its lineup kept growing and expanding into different models. The neck-thru versions have their own character as well. They all sound good unplugged, but the neck-thru has more sustain and a little more growl to it.

Ibanez: What aspects of playing music do you find the most rewarding and the most exciting?
Roland: It falls in line with sharing. You're playing with other musicians, and they're sharing their personalities and voices. Then, I'm sharing mine, and there's a strong communication going on. In life, when you're trying to communicate or express a viewpoint and you're heard, that's a great thing. You're being understood and accepted. It's the same with music. In performing and writing songs, when people accept it then it's a great feeling.

Ibanez: What do you have going on over the next couple of months?
Roland: I've been working on a lot of new music for the upcoming record, and we're going to be trying it out at the next couple of gigs. I'll be playing with the Milwaukee Symphony pretty soon and doing some gigs at Dizzy's Jazz Club in New York in July.

Ibanez: What are you listening to right now?
Roland: I'm listening to a lot of classical music. I've been getting a lot of ideas from the melodies played against each other. I've been listening to a lot of Joe Henderson and McCoy Turner, too. I really like their voices and the way the express themselves when they're soloing. In playing 6-string, I think I gain a lot from listening to guys like that.

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