Show & Tell is where we get artists to tell us about a piece of gear that they cherish and use as a part of their live or studio setup. This month we chat to songwriter/guitarist Ingrid Mae.
What piece of equipment do you have to show us today?
I’ve got my beloved Takamine EF450C-TT TBB, who I’ve nicknamed Smokey Amber. She’s the leading lady in Takamine’s range of Thermal Top guitars and has been front and centre at every major show I’ve played.
How did you come across this particular item?
Well, I certainly wasn’t short of guitars, put it that way. I’d started my own little guitar orphanage, picking up old and unwanted guitars. Growing tired of lacklustre necks and EQ issues, I started to pillage my father’s guitar collection to find something that sounded as good as it felt in the hand. I stumbled across a regular Takamine and basically didn’t put it down for six months. I knew I had to buy my own and when I asked my guitar tech, he recommended the Thermal Top range. As soon as I saw a picture of the guitar, it was game over. It was like somebody told me I could run a marathon in a pair of Manolo Blahniks. Sight unseen, I ordered it.
What is it that you like about it so much?
I’d heard about the Takamine preamps and the tone achieved by that “magical wood” process, but the proof was really on stage. I christened her at a four-hour solo acoustic show at the rocks. Nowhere to hide, a pushy inebriated crowd and, well, it was effortless. Even now I get sound techs giving me a bewildered look, like they are eager to boost or cut a frequency out of habit, but there’s nothing for them to do with my acoustic. “That sounds great, um, what EQ do you have set there on your dial?” and I say, “Nothing. This is just the way she sounds.”
How do you use it and how has it shaped the way you write music?
I use the Thermal Top at all live shows and in recording. It’s really changed the nature of my live performances as we can achieve such a full and vibrant sound as a three-piece band that more often thannot is my Takamine, bass and drums – voila! When it comes to how the guitar has shaped the way I write music, I’m finding I pick it up less and less in the actual songwriting stage. I’ve always heard the song in my head, known where I wanted to take it, but didn’t trust myself to write it without a guitar in my hand. Now I’m much more confident and when I put the guitar in my hand I pretty much know what the bones of the song are. When I pick it up, it’s all cream.
Tell us a little about what you have coming up.
I’ve got a new album coming out in February which I’m really excited about. It’s called Holy Smoke. It’s a gutsy country album and the songs are recorded pretty much just how we play them live. I wanted something really authentic and kind of raw. I’ve also got more festivals coming up next year, even the Trundle Abba Festival in May, which I’m especially looking forward to.
For more information check out ingridmae.com.