What strings do you use, Marcus Bonfanti?

From the Guitar Techniques archive, we ask a famous guitarist all those little questions you really do want the answers to… This time, blues maestro Marcus Bonfanti.

Do you have a type of pick that you can't live without?

I use Dunlop 1mm picks. I've used them since I was about 18 and never thought about changing. I do need to bite 'em in good though before I use 'em - don't like 'em too smooth and slippy.

If you had to give up all your pedals but three, what would they be?

I couldn't be without my Danelectro Wasabi trem pedal, or my Carl Martin Hydra Boost, they are monsters. I couldn't give up my Boss TU-2 tuner 'cos I switch from standard to open G and open D a lot - without it there'd be more tunin' than playin'.

Do you play another instrument well enough to be in a band?

I used to play trumpet to a real good standard. I'm a decent bass player - played on my first record and for a few bands and on a few sessions. I'm no Scott Wiber though (bass player on my record).

If a music chart were put in front of you, could you read it?

Yeah I can now. I learnt a few years back because I got offered a gig in a pit band for the musical West Side Story. First rehearsal they put a big score in front of me. I had no clue, just about got through the session and that night I stayed up all night learning how to read music on guitar.

I'm real glad I did it cos I probably wouldn't have bothered otherwise.

Do guitar cables really make a difference? What make are yours?

I had to go through my guitar case for this one. It's a big mixture - a Fender one, some Piranha ones and a nice posh Whirlwind one. So to answer the question it looks like I don't think cables make a difference.

Is there anyone's playing (past or present) that you're slightly jealous of?

Where do I start? I suppose most guitar players I like inspire me or blow my mind more than make me jealous, but I'd love to have Buddy Guy's recklessness, Muddy's feel and Freddie King's tone.

Your house/studio is burning down: which guitar do you salvage?

My Gibson Hummingbird True Vintage every time. I have some real nice guitars but that one is special; it's so good to write songs on and it just sounds great.

That guitar and me go everywhere together; we've been through a lot of gigs and sessions together. It's MY guitar.

What's your favourite amp and how do you set it?

I own a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, which is a great gigging amp, fits easily in cars and vans and is light enough to lug about.

I have it set on the clean channel, almost all the treble rolled off, a lot of bass and mids, a bit of reverb and then I turn it up till it just breaks up (about 5 on the padded input).

My resonator sounds great through it. I'm about to buy a Vibrolux though...

What kind of action do you have on your guitars?

I like a high action 'cos I play a lot of slide stuff; also it suits the heavy gauge strings I use. My mates don't like using my guitars cos they are tough to play.

What guitar strings do you use?

On my Hummingbird I use D'Addario Bluegrass (12-56); my resonator is strung with Rotosound flatwounds (12-52); and my Tele with D'Addario heavy gauge (12-54).

I like to feel I'm really playin' them bends! Also they hold well for 'down' tuning.