Nita Strauss: The Secrets Of Her Sound and Her Signature Guitar
"The most awesome guitar player on the planet: Miss Nita Strauss."
That's how Gear Factor host Squiggy introduces the guitarist, who is a member of Alice Cooper's band and is currently working on an all-instrumental solo album.
"I don't know if that's true..." she responds, sheepishly.
"According to me!" Squiggy exclaims.
RELATED: Check out Nita Strauss' gear here.
He was speaking to the six-string hero backstage before one of Alice Cooper's recent shows and the conversation centered around some of the innovators of music who are known for inventions rather than their recordings.
First, Squiggy asked about Marshall Amps founder, Jim Marshall.
"The Father of Loud!" Strauss, who is endorsed by Marshall, responded. "I think somebody needed to take a risk at the time that Jim Marshall was building those first Marshall amps, somebody needed to take it to that next level, somebody needed to make that high gain leap. And nobody was doing it. The industry was ready for it, and no one was doing it. And Jim, having the cojones to say, 'Let's make it louder'... He's an innovator and a trendsetter."
Squiggy then asked about Larry DiMarzio, an icon in the field of guitar pickups.
"Larry! I love Larry," she says. "He's another one of those innovators, another one of those trendsetters, to this day."
Her relationship with DiMarzio is a bit more personal. "He played a huge, huge part in the design of my [signature] guitar. Not just the pickup component, which he also did, which is obviously a huge part of the design."
She elaborates: "My boyfriend Josh and I were at lunch with Larry in L.A., and we were talking about the guitar, and the design, and the concept, and he said, 'Well, what's your color scheme going to be?' 'I don't really know, I don't want it to be pink, I want it to be all black.' I wanted a black guitar with a black neck and black pickups and that's what I wanted. So we're sitting at lunch talking about it and Larry said, 'Well, look at you: you're wearing all black, blonde hair, black eye makeup, why not do black and blonde?' That was the 'Aha!' moment that became the JIVA [the name of the guitar]. He just comes up with these ideas and isn't afraid to take a risk."
"Same thing with these cut-through pickups," she continues. "No one's really doing the thing where you see .... there are a lot of cover pickups out there, we've seen very similar ones, but Larry's the one who is doing the cut-through ones that you saw in the Woody [the new Ibanez Steve Vai Jem Signature Guitar], the John Petrucci ones, and now these. And the Jake Bones Titan [aka Jake Bowen from the band Periphery]. And these, for me. And again, it's just a great example of the way that he's not afraid to be innovative, and try something new, even though it's expensive, even though Ibanez hadn't approved it, even though it took a long time -- longer than we would have wanted -- we weren't afraid to make it happen and get something cool done. And I think it adds immensely to the guitar, having that aesthetic component."
"Jiva," by the way, is a term from the ancient Indian religion Jainism that refers to the soul.
Catch Nita Stauss playing her signature guitar on tour with Alice Cooper this summer.