Today we are lucky to interview with Cai Jian, a well-known jazz guitarist and composer in China, a professional teacher of jazz guitar in the School of Modern Music and Drama at Xinghai Conservatory of Music. He is also a lecturer using the online platform to teach, He has been engaged in music teaching for many years. Lets see what he has to say.
When did you start playing guitar and who influenced you growing up?
I started playing guitar in 1996. When I was young, I liked many bands, such as Guns&Rose, Radiohead, Bon Jovi, Megadeth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pantera, Extreme, Dream Theater, etc. All of which are mainly rock and metal.
I became interested in jazz when I heard Pat Metheny, which had a great impact on me at the time. I found that the music could still be like this. So I kept listening to different types of jazz music.
There are also many masters that I like and have been affected. Such as Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, John Scofield, Adam Rogers, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Scott Henderson, Greg Howe, Allan Holdsworth, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Parker, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Michel Jazz, musicians such as Petrucciani, Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, etc. There are too many to list them all.
Amazing! Do you have a favourite memory about playing guitar?
In fact, the most interesting thing about playing music is to be with different like-minded friends, from childhood to now. Whether it is playing metal, blues, funk, jazz, as long as I meet the right people, I think it is very interesting.
Just like now, I have a heavy band, and I also have a group of jazz musicians who often work with. Although they are two completely different types, they both have fun. I think that besides learning music, the most important thing is to treat it as THE biggest hobby in life.
Letting go is the most important thing, don’t give yourself too much baggage.
That’s a really great way to think about it. So what features in your guitar would you like to highlight ?
Regarding the guitar, I think the most important thing is the feel and dynamics. After all, different types of guitars have different tones, which is sometimes difficult to compare.
But with good hand feeling and excellent dynamics, it can give you good instant feedback when you play, which is the standard of a good guitar.
In terms of functions, I think series/parallel/coiltap switching are quite useful，it will give you more timbre options.
How did you decide on the specs for the USA model you now own ? Was it hard to finalise a decision on the build?
I tried the Vola guitars at the previous Shanghai Music Fair and I fell in love with it as soon as I played it.
Whether it is the feel, the explosive power of the tone, the feeling of touching the strings, and the design of the entire guitar that I like most (guitarists like good- looking guitars).
I thought it is a guitar that I really want to own. After that, I have been communicating with vola about the design of the signature models, and they are also very professional. Although I have played guitar myself for many years, I really don’t know anything about guitar design.
The designer on Vola gave very professional advice (in fact, I don’t find it difficult myself,because the designer helped me solve it, laugh).
In the end they made a perfect guitar beyond imagination.
What made you want to spec a 7 string guitar ?
The reason for making a 7-string guitar is simple, because besides jazz, I still like heavy music very much.
It is very likely that I will order an 8-string in Vola in the future! !
We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Cai for taking the time from his busy schedule to do this interview, and welcome you to the Vola team !!