Hey Shredder

7 questions for guitarists

Todd Park Mohr

Big Head Todd & The Monsters

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When folks list off guitar heroes of the last 25 years, Todd Park Mohr is often wrongfully overlooked. Anyone who’s caught Big Head Todd and the Monsters since they formed in Colorado in the mid-80s knows the man can make wood ‘n’ strings cry, laugh and all sorts of other nifty things. Mohr is a serious, fiercely melodic player whose technique shows that he’s paid attention to both rock and jazz guys, and though he can solo with the best of them, he’s often at his finest riding in the musculature of his tunes and moving in step with his voice. Todd and the Monsters are in lively, fine form on their latest, Rocksteady (released July 20), where they touch on Howlin’ Wolf, The Rolling Stones and another pile of very well crafted originals which let Mohr show off his full range nicely.


When folks list off guitar heroes of the last 25 years, Todd Park Mohr is often wrongfully overlooked. Anyone who’s caught Big Head Todd and the Monsters since they formed in Colorado in the mid-80s knows the man can make wood ‘n’ strings cry, laugh and all sorts of other nifty things. Mohr is a serious, fiercely melodic player whose technique shows that he’s paid attention to both rock and jazz guys, and though he can solo with the best of them, he’s often at his finest riding in the musculature of his tunes and moving in step with his voice. Todd and the Monsters are in lively, fine form on their latest, Rocksteady (released July 20), where they touch on Howlin’ Wolf, The Rolling Stones and another pile of very well crafted originals which let Mohr show off his full range nicely.

Favorite effects pedal? Why?
My favorite effects pedal is probably Seymore Duncan’s “Blue Tube.” It is a very straightforward overdrive with two channels, a lower gain and a higher gain. It is a high voltage plate produced sound that is very amp like and converts any rental fender I may run across into a 3-tone monster.
Tastiest guitarist — i.e. not just soloing but also overall playing — currently working six-strings?
Brad Paisley is probably the fastest, most hot-rodding guitarists out there to my tastes. I also like Trey Anastasio a lot and admire his tone and wailing speed.
A guitar solo I never get tired of listening to is…
Of course, the guitar solo in “Stairway to Heaven.”
Preferred brand of axe? Why?
I prefer two fine axe builders: Brian Deckebach of Del Toro Lutherie, who has built me very fine instruments, my favorite of which is a “Franken-tele” as he calls it. It has a hollowed mahogany body, hand-wound bucker in the bridge and a P-90 in the neck position, alongside an old school Bigsby tremelo and 22 frets. My other favorite is Chris Kroenlein, who builds K-Line guitars. Chris built me a beautiful pair of butterscotch “Telemasters”, kind of a Jazzmaster body with the the rest of the guitar finished as a Telecaster. The large body and 25.5 scale neck gives me all the upsides of the Telecaster, but with more “beef”.
AC/DC, The Beatles, Radiohead or The Byrds – which one gives you the biggest guitar boner? What makes them SO sweet?
AC/DC provides the biggest guitar boner. This is due to the fact that the guitars are sheer power – the very definition of rock power chords. These performances are the bludgeon or Mack truck of rock tones and performances.
One lesser known guitarist folks should check out is…
Well, Jake Cinninger of Umphrey’s McGee is really, really good, and becoming more well known. I’ve seen him play many times now and am always struck by his tone and articulation, alongside scale speed. Of course, I count myself in this category of the under-appreciated, but that’s another story altogether.
What aspect of being a guitarist always makes you happy?
Music is a joyous part of life and one of the few things that human beings are able to do well. It makes me very happy to consider that I have never had to have a day job, or a job that harms others, or that I hate. I can work hard and become a better player, and having a simple rig that I love makes being happy a very easy thing to achieve indeed!