Interview with Partyzant

Partyzant is one of the best guitar player in Poland. He uses two-handed tapping playing regular guitar, and he was my first and only inspiration in this technique.

- Adam Fulara: When and why did you start using the two-handed tapping method?
- Partyzant: Since 1986, pretty much since I started playing guitar

- What made you decide to use tapping?
- I had my brother's acoustic guitar and I kept trying to think of an original way of playing it. Like any teenager I wanted to stand out from the rest and that's how it started.

Partyzant - Were you inspired by Stanley Jordan or some other guitarist?
- More like Paganini.

- So you didn't know of any guitarists who used this method, when you were starting out?
- If I had known I would've never played that way, besides I play several different ways - including one where I keep the guitar on my knees.

- Did you learn to tap and use the traditional method at the same time?
- I learned to tap and I played using just my fingers. I learned to use a pick later on. Even now I rarely use my pick, mostly I just play using my fingers.

- What influence did these techniques have on your style? Which style do you use more often?
- Well, I used to play mostly showoff tapping routines before I had any sense of musical direction. In my current band, Paradox!, I'm looking for more balance, I think I've matured to that point. I'm looking for a technique that matches my musical direction.

Partyzant - Do you work on your playing style using both methods?
- I think I have a pretty well developed style but I'm constantly working on it.

- Do you prefer a clean or distorted sound?
- Both, because I can't scream on cleans and I can't whisper using distortion.

- You use distorted sounds for two-handed tapping?
- Yes, it's an interesting a linear way, try it sometime.

- How did you first start playing with others?
- DZEM needed someone to transcribe their music, and I used to mess around with that stuff. Besides, I lived in the same area that Paul, Ben and Adam did (Piotrowice). I did the transcriptions, and in return they allowed me to open for one of their shows. They liked it and that's how it started.

- That's an interesting story...
- That's how it goes.

- What bands are you playing in now, besides Zdrowa Woda?
- I've got a new band, it's called Paradox! We're a rock band. We'll be recording our first album in october. When I play with these guys I use a lot of tapping, which adds a dstinctive flavor to the vibe of the band.

- What's the lineup?
- I play guitar and sing, Waldek Pajak (ex Bluesdorf Orchestra) plays guitar, Maciek Maciolek (ex Ptaaki) plays bass, Dawid Leszczyk (ex Orkiestra Dni Naszych) is on drums and Czarek Gorski on keys.

- Do you practice a lot?
- I've always practiced a lot, but currently I'm trying out the visualisation technique.

- Also known as mental practicing? Tha't an interesting subject...
- Think before you speak. You can't speak first, and then think about what you're going to say! This is totally separate from improv work, which is more like a direct communication of your thoughts. Some people have to use a lot of words to get their point across while others can just say "I love you" and it's enough. I'm working on the latter.

- Do you improvise a lot?
- Depends on my mood. If I have a lot to say and a willing audience - then yeah, quite a lot, but if not - I stick to the basics.

Partyzant - Are you planning to release a solo record?
- I haven't matured to that quite yet. It's hard holding someone's attention for 45 minutes with just one instrument and I don't want my album gathering dust on a shelf somewhere.

- Are you currently inspired by other guitarists who use tapping?
- There are a few but none of them hold my attention as well as Chopin or Korn.

- What are your thoughts on the stick or Warr guitars?
- Why not, as long as it expands your musical horizons. For now though I have yet to master the six string.

- What gear are you using? Do you still use (endrose) the Laboga Jan Bo Tube head?
- Yeah, most of all.

- How about guitars? Tele and Les Paul?
- Yes - those two exactly. Mostly the second one.

- Do you set these guitars up in any special way for tapping?
- I lower the tuning down a whole step (I use a .011 string gauge), but not for tapping, I just like that sound. Every now and then I use a different tuning to get out of ruts, but that's mostly at home, never when I'm out playing.

- What are you working on right now?
- Different ways of getting sound out of a guitar, using a coin, a rock, a drumstick, a violin bow.

- You mentioned that you like to play Chopin?
- I do, but not entire pieces - just the main motifs. I've been working on the Polonaise A-flat, the Turkish March, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (with wah)

- Do you go by ear or do you have sheet music?
- I go by ear, I don't have patience for sheet music. The music is pretty simple though. You've got to come to one of our gigs.

- I'll come by when I get the chance.
- Plus, it's kind of hard to sing along while you're tapping but I manage somehow.

Partyzant - Have you ever played on two guitars at once, like Stanley Jordan?
- I play bass and solo guitar

- What kind of things do you play then?
- Whatever comes to mind. It's more of an entertainment thing, I usually don't repeat myself. A couple of days ago I used a cigarette lighter and a beer glass to play - boy was that fun. At another party I got pissed people weren't listening to me so I took a fork from some guy sitting next to me and I used that. I had a pretty good audience from that point on.

- What are your plans for the future?
- Record albums with Zdrowa Woda and Paradox!, do gigs (I've also had offers from abroad)

- What about a webpage?
- Currently one is underway for Paradox!, maybe my solo stuff will find its way there? I don't know yet.

- What would you recommend to novice guitarists using the two-handed method?
- Find your own musical path, style and tone are the two most important things there are. You've got to be yourself. Don't try to be the next Jordan or Satriani.

- Thank you for the interview.
- Thanks.

Special thanks to Jacek Kielczewski for text translation.

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