In this new On The Record interview, Yvette shares her thoughts on what makes the best solo and best guitar, her iconic tapping technique, why guitarists should all learn piano, and why she's obsessed with making a guitar not sound like a guitar! Follow UltimateGuitarTv on YouTube for the full interview and visit ultimate-guitar.com for more news.
Yvette Young, a guitarist and musician, discusses her experience with guitar playing and her band Covet in an interview with Ultimate Guitar. She talks about her musical background, influences, and the collaborative process in her band. Yvette also mentions her solo projects and the importance of learning different instruments. She shares her experiences in the studio while recording her latest album and discusses the gear she finds inspiring. Yvette also mentions her collaboration with Ibanez and the development of her signature guitar models. She hints at a third signature model with different pickups. Everyone knows how to play the right notes, but you just got to choose the best notes and put them in The best order at the right time. So that's what makes a good guitar solo Hi, my name is Yvette Young and this is on the record with ultimate guitar Thank you. Well, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. It's an honor. Thank you. Thank me First of all, are you familiar with ultimate guitar? Do you ever use tablature? Uh, I Grew up like honestly, I taught myself guitar just by ear But then I started looking at tabs But I was so slow at them that I kind of just like and also I feel like sometimes the tabs for certain songs We're kind of wrong, but I do think it's fun that there's a community of people tabbing out things As a resource for everyone to learn learn music, so how did you start learning? I mean you came from a classical background. What was sort of your introduction to rock music? Um, you know, I honestly got into Guitar kind of late. I started out on classical piano and violin and I played the orchestra and everything but long story short I got really sick There's a lot of pressure for me to you know, maintain school and do all that So I went to the hospital and that's when I started learning guitar As just like a thing for myself because prior to that, I think my parents like really pushed Guitar and violin or piano violin on me and I wanted to learn music on my own terms. So yeah, I Really started taking it seriously when I was Out of college, but during college I kind of just like, you know, that's when I was looking at tabs when I was a Trying to write music my own and all that and I kind of always felt like I came at it from an outsider perspective But that's what kind of made it fun for me since prior to that all of my music upbringing was in Like in some sort of like institutions like rules and you know, I had teachers for everything so I came from this like strict rigid background and Found a thing that ended up being like really therapeutic for me and really helped me get out of my sickness as well And I think to this day is a really valuable resource to me What were some of the first bands that really made you want to pick up the guitar and and kind of? depart from that classical Sort of sort of arena that you were in. I guess like I started learning Well, I Discovered bands like the darkness On a plane. I remember I heard some of their music like this is crazy. And then I got into some punk rock And then I discovered the beautiful world of post rock and I was like wow this is like so my pace because it's like classical music, but it's just like really dynamic and expressive and emotional and then I got into some Mass rock and like prog and stuff and that was kind of It just I ended up the way I played ended up being informed by all of that And like shoegaze and like India. I just like loved music at the time I love consuming it and I love choosing all the little bits of each genre and I'm kind of finding a way to amalgamate it into one sound and you just put out a new record. What April with covet Yeah, nominal record I've been listening to it in the last few days Thank you, really really good stuff on there How how collaborative is the writing process within covet I? Wrote This album was different was was a little different but all in all every single record I feel like it's Like basically me writing the songs and then just like bringing it To practice and we all just play it together And then with the bass lines this record. I had John button do the bass and I kind of just played what I heard and then he's like the real bass player So he just extrapolated on what I had already written and did some really cool things made some really good choices Yep, is there a song or a part of a song a solo or riff on that album that you're most proud of you? Know it's funny is I feel like after I'm done with the record I just am numb to everything because I've sat with it so long I really enjoy I can tell you the moments live that I really enjoy I think on Firebird that whole song is just so fun to play. It's my favorite one to play that one in love spell actually I really like the delay section in love spell when it opens up after the first verse and then I'm firebird. I love the solo at the end. It's just like really epic like a lot of distortion delay And then I just I think the riffs and that's always really catchy and that's my goal always is melody over everything else So when I write something that people are like singing it's like in their heads. I get really really excited And then Bronco is fun. Just for the effects and the chonk. I like playing that one a lot Yeah, those are all high the same highlights. I have from the record. So Cool are you doing any more solo material or is this kind of you mentioned you write all the music for for covet? Basically has that kind of become your solo project now or or can we expect some more solo records in the future? Yeah, I think You know, it's funny. It was always my solo project. I just like hired Like I think I changed I got new band members You know, I think a lot of stuff happened that I just thought it was unacceptable to keep them so That was heartbreaking but with my new band basically runs the same And Yeah, I I've been working at this band for so long I honestly kind of need a break from it because I've have I have Solo music I've written for the last like five years that I haven't been able to work on just because I'm so busy And I think it's really important to take breaks as an artist and do Have time to like experiment and grow and learn and Do other things and grow sonically like I think the reason why people end up releasing the same record over and over again it's because they're not afforded the time to develop themselves and Work on themselves and learn new things and technology is always improving growing so I think I just want to take a year off and Just I have a solo piano record I need to record and then I have Solo kind of like indie pop sort of thing that I'm working on right now That is guitar centric, but I'm really excited about so yeah, so of course, we're ultimate guitar. We're very guitar centric Website, but how important is it for guitarists to branch out and maybe learn a different instrument? What can they gain from that? So so so much different perspective obviously But like I find that a lot of my riffs come from just like how I think about piano like the polyphony Really helped me a lot, so I think everyone should learn piano. I think it should be everyone's first instrument Maybe hot takes I don't know, but it's just like such a good songwriting tool violin has taught me like Dynamics and feel and precision because violin requires you to be very precise because it's like fretless Also different timbres of different instruments like cello. I love the saxophone. There's a saxophone solo on the record I love trumpet like and the horn sections amazing Yeah, learn as many instruments as you can you remember some specific instances in the studio where? Parts were maybe not coming as easily as as they as you had hoped um I Feel like I've made the mistake of recording the record before we ever played it live And I don't recommend that I feel like it's important to see how something plays Out in a room so I ended up retracting a bunch of stuff That's why I took long because I just went I pulled out all the bass. I retract it Pulled out some guitar parts retract it like the solo and firebird like a lot of the parts the dubs I did at home in my home Set up so yeah, just yeah, you don't really know what you want until you've played it a lot and like let it kind of Marinate you know Are there any pedals or pieces of gear that you've been finding really inspiring lately or even in the writing of this? last record Hell yeah digitech Like every digitech pedal ever like the whammy the ricochet the drop the freakout Those are all now like an essential part of my sound I really enjoy the d3 Just really playful fast stutter Fuzzes different fuzzes Beatronics make some really interesting fuzzes a lot of characteristics hologram microcosm Not cheap, but definitely just like a wealth of inspiration particularly if you're into Creating like Ambient stuff that has character like I use the granules function a lot the micro loopers insane. I love it The glitch function is really really fun for disrupting what you're playing I just like I feel like I've just been really obsessed with I love guitar tones don't get me wrong, but I've also obsessed with making a guitar not sound like a guitar and like have people try to guess like What instrument is that but it's a guitar and like bet you didn't know you can make a guitar sound like that really quick I also want to mention the oc5 the boss of c5. That's a big premise. I know too So, um, how did you get hooked up with Ivan as and then how did you how did the signature model come about? I? I forgot exactly how that happened, but they hit me up and they're like I think I was resistant to them initially cuz I was like ooh, like I Feel like their whole thing is like pointy guitars Like pointy metal guitars and I'm like, I'm not really like a metal player. So that'd be a little dissonant with what I do But they're like we got the guitar just for you and they sent me a Talman. I was like, ah things amazing. It's beautiful and It's got like I think I cannibalized a set of Bill Lawrence pickups I had in my old telly and it sounded great and I was like sold love this guitar and we ended out just I played that guitar so much we ended up developing a signature and Here I am with two signatures the third on the way excited Let's talk about the third one Can you drop any specs on what that one's gonna have maybe some different pickups? Yes, for sure different pickups. I don't I no longer Work with Seymour Duncan. I'm trying to decide where to go because there's so many Routes I could go. Um, I think I'm in his has a very solid relationship with Demarzio and I do love Demarzio pickups I also feel like I'm just constantly like kind of like making outlier guitars And it would be really fun to get Ivan is to do something. That's like a little outside of their Wheelhouse to I think to attract a like a bigger demographic because it's like I just think about like my Association with them like when I started out I was like, I thought they were like the metal shredder guitar Company and I feel like not everyone wants to play that and sometimes people Unfortunately, like I did judge a brand by its cover like there's a book by its cover and there's a brand by like, you know What things look like and what things sound like? So, yeah, it'd be kind of fun to do something that's more like Wide appeal. So I was thinking I've done the single coil route a ton P90s would be kind of cool mini humbuckers. I I've been resistant to humbuckers such a single coil girl But I'm trying to open my mind and I think a lot of people would enjoy a guitar That's a little bit quieter and less like, you know Single coils are they're single coils. They they be making noise Yeah, but I think I just want to do something like really different So, you know music theory How do you I mean do you consciously discard that and put it over in the corner when you're writing? Your your own guitar music or is it something that you use in your writing? To me it's not useful until I have to like explain what I did to someone And that's when I use it the most but when I'm writing I don't think about it at all I'm just like Literally, they're singing stuff. I think of like get my guitarist like top line writing where I'm like, okay Like what something that I really want to hear and then I like start really simple and then I just build it up to this Like complex intricate thing, but it's just my ear. I don't really like think oh I'm gonna like resolve it this way and then I'm gonna like purposely write something that's like in five and then Goes to seven like I don't count. So a lot of a Lot of guitar centric people where that's their only instrument They really haven't explored the classical area of music as much as they probably should have Is there a classical piece that you would recommend to a lot of the metal heads that are probably listening to this You know people that are fans of shred guitar If you really want to hear something technically insane, I would recommend Something like flight of the bumblebees or something. That's just like pure 16th note Insanity flourish and it sounds like bumblebees. They do achieve that If you want to hear something esoteric and like really Strange that you would never dream of that is really difficult to access Melodically, I would suggest a lot of contemporary Anything any kind of like impressionistic stuff like Ravel it just flows and that thing Just the timing is so fluid and it's also very shreddy. It's difficult to play if you want something with insane counterpoint and Multiple voices like true polyphony within a lot of rules I would say well just any Bach like is not any Baroque music writing me like Writing Baroque music is so difficult because there's so many rules to counterpoint And it was just really tricky to be creative within those Like to write something different because there's so many rules that you have to consider. So yeah, this is a lot Honestly if gateway if you like post-hoc already just start getting into like movie soundtrack stuff like film scoring I think a lot of there's a lot to appreciate their Ralph Vaughn Williams is a good contemporary composer He did I think the Master and Commander and that whenever he wrote for that movie was so gorgeous So yeah, there you go What constitutes a good guitar solo and I'll just follow it up with the lamest question of all time And what what's the greatest guitar solo in your opinion? I think the best Everyone can play the right nerds, but I think it's the question of who plays Can you choose the best notes? The notes that are just going to flow and then in the most effective Manner to accomplish the emotion you're trying to achieve and I think in addition to that. I think Phrasing is so important it can take something feeling rigid and very stale to Something that is making you feel things because it sounds like someone talking or something or it just pushes and pulls and it Never gets stagnant So, yeah phrasing is I think like everyone knows how to play the right notes But you just got to choose the best notes and put them in the best order at the right time So that's what makes a good guitar solo. Yeah, it's not easy I think that's like 90% the battle for me like I think when I it's time for me to lay down a solo or a part I know what notes I want to play and it's like I got option paralysis I'm like, well, I have to go down this chat this chat this chat So usually what I do is I like will sing the solo that I want to hear and then I'll learn it on guitar I'll play it and then I'll start playing around with phrasing to do something unexpected or I think even something is like Microscopic is like I'm gonna Not be exactly to the grid and like come in purposely late like behind the beat and I think that can like so make like If you make someone like, you know Physically react if they like hold back because they want to hear that note Slower or if you're pushing a part because in the you know, like just that kind of thing is like really really fun for me and Then what was the second part of the question? What's the greatest? Guitar solo ever written was I don't know because that's like so subjective Because I think some people would consider a very verbose note II solo to be the best because it's technically Proficient, but then sometimes some of my favorite personal solos have been ones where the tone was like That's another thing to consider not only you're like not only phrasing but like the right note But then like the right tone like you can play a guitar solo on a country song and use like a crazy like distorted thing Which would work in other contexts, but it'd be the poor choice for that song But you could get something that's kind of more like it sounds all like throaty and like it has a lot of character and That could be like the perfect solo. So yeah, I don't know I'm getting really big answers because I just feel like there's so many different contexts in which something could be the best solo Some of my favorite guitar solos At the end of this one Pine Grove song. There's a song called aphasia and The song just ends on a solo and it fades out and I just like think it makes me feel things So beautiful, but then on the other hand the first time I heard Guthrie Govan, you know I feel like that's like a more traditional guitar solo, but it I brought his note choice and like phrasing was really really great Yeah, like waves love that song bringing it all the way back What was your first guitar and what were some of the first songs that you tried to learn how to play or did you just? Start out doing original stuff right in the beginning. I definitely learned a lot of create song I thought you know, I think people like to meme create now, but like, you know, this is I learned a lot of like folk music, too You like a lot of acoustic stuff and I started on acoustic And then I just started writing. I think I the two kind of went hand in hand I got bored of like just learning other music is like I want to make my own and what did you start out on? What was your first guitar? I even as classical guitar and then I switched to I think it was like some guitar on Amazon And then when I started taking it seriously, I got a Martin OMC 1e So you actually started out on either nose, that's that's interesting. Yeah, and then yeah, it's funny my first electric guitar was like this Ivan is our G that I borrowed and then and then I gave that back and then I Ended up getting a sex telly which I still own and I traded that For my friend Ethan for a drum machine that I own because at the time I didn't have money And so I was like, do you want a drum machine? He's like dad you on telly and we just did the online trade Great $90 guitar, but it honestly feels great. What makes a guitar good or bad? So we interviewed Anita Strauss and she said that at NAMM one year you guys switch guitars and Neither one of you like the other ones Guitar as far as the design just because it didn't work for the music that you guys play Do you recall the first time you guys switched guitars? Uh guitar as far as the design just because it didn't work for the music that you guys play Do you recall that incident and did you like? playing nita's signature instrument I feel like what makes a guitar good is it's a very personal thing like What is a good guitar to someone else isn't going to be a good guitar for you as evidenced by you know The point that nita said, um, but I think context is everything and I love all kinds of music so for me like I like having different types of guitarists to really, you know explore different sounds and different pickups like um I would say what makes a good guitar What doesn't make a good guitar obviously is the price who cares Um expensive thing might not work for someone I that sxtelly that $90 guitar inspired so much music in me ended up writing so much with it and it's like A lot of people would just pass that up because it looks like this cheap thing. Um Comfort to me is most important you ever pick up a guitar and it just like makes you cranky like you're playing fine But it just like makes you Never want to play another note again, and i've had instances of that where it's just like I think I was playing like a hollow body jazz guitar It just like really put me in a bad mood because it just wasn't doing anything that needed to do tonally and it felt like Really bad underneath my fingers. Um Maybe it's also like a setup thing. But yeah, so comfort tone Like obviously I think the thing that should matter the most in music is what it sounds like So if you're not liking the sound that's coming out, it's not going to make you want to play guitar It's not going to make you want to write a good guitar will make you want to write a good guitar You will like pick up and not want to put down somebody like we gotta go and you'll be like wait Like I just like can't step away I have a guitar. I have like a couple of guitars that I like that for me. I just like Start playing. I always forget i'm like i'm just gonna play a few notes and then an hour passes by i'm just like So yeah, um, and then I think like obviously everyone Does care about aesthetics? So for me lives if I feel like I have a cool instrument, I want to feel good on stage, you know I'm gonna like I I have sparkle guitars for a reason. They just scale the show. They look great on photos So but I think that's the last of my consideration. So to that kid who just bought his first guitar or her first guitar Um, and thank you for inspiring so many young women to pick up the guitar Uh, that's been fantastic um What advice would you have for that kid? Uh starting out their musical journey Listen to a lot of different music and don't like it's okay to have role models and like look up to people but don't try to copy anyone and the most important thing is just have fun and Once you start doing something where you're not really having fun just spending time with your instrument anymore It's probably going to be a dead end because I know for me personally longevity in my career has been following What excites me and as soon as I start comparing myself to other people's career trajectories or even like what they do with their music career What they do with their music what they the things that they value about music. I just realized that it's like Not going to make me happy. Um and yeah, I think like For me a big I started out wanting to like Be more virtuosic because I thought I had to like prove myself, you know um, and there's a lot of pressure and I was just like well, I have a cg guitar I better Freaking deserve it But then over time I realized that like the joy that I get from playing doesn't come from Again, sweating bullets trying to nail these like insane tap runs comes from playing like The perfectly placed note that makes someone feel Something or like, you know, really good melody something that's like catchy and fun and then like The the guitar is so expressive. There's so many ways you can play a melodic line and just finding like the the most effective way to like Convey that what I would tell the person picking up guitar is just like learn a bunch of different types of music Grow your toolkit as a songwriter grow your toolkit as a guitar player learn as many techniques as you can But what you do with that is up to you and don't try to like be the next anyway, or like be the next I don't know like See bye or whatever. See if I'm amazing. No one's going to be as good as steve. I see bye, you know So you mentioned your your tapping technique, which is which is fantastic. Uh to someone who's never tried tapping Do you have some technical advice for them? Uh on how to do it? Well Yeah, I think like how you position your hand is really important it's kind of hard for me to show right now, but like I think some people like hold it like this, but if you just like tilt your hand forward a little bit you get more momentum um, and it's not about Like for me, it's not about like I don't tap like this. I tap like this. So it's about letting the natural weight of your hand provides the finger strength Necessary to get that note to sound out. Um action having it on the lower side helps um Thicker strings helps because then you don't bend stuff out of tune and you get a more whole tone Um, and then yeah, honestly gear wise compression Can go a long way. What do you have planned for the rest of 2023 busy? I'm just like working on I'm going to japan in a few weeks. Um, i've been working on a couple of features Uh, I got asked to do some guitar for a film score thing. So i'm like working on that today um I'm doing by academy next at the top of next year Doing guitar summit in europe later this fall And that's that's like my whole year honestly Um, and the next year i'm planning to just take off because I would really like to write Well, thank you so much for being so gracious with your time today and and chatting with us. So I I really appreciate it Of course. Thank you for having me