Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 22

TRACY G
Dio Disciple

R

onnie James Dio had a knack for collaborating with talented guitarists - Ritchie
Blackmore in Rainbow, Tony Iommi in Black
Sabbath/Heaven and Hell, and several in his
solo band, Dio. While shredders such as Vivian
Campbell and Craig Goldy are the best-known,
Tracy Grijalva played on two (Strange Highways
and Angry Machines) that today are highly
respected by the band's following. Grijalva is
still going strong, as evidenced by the Tracy
G Group's latest release, Tramp.
What's the story behind the new album?

We actually wrote and recorded it in 2015-'16,
but it never got distribution [until released via
MVDAudio/Sonic Night Music in '17]. I'm not
a businessman - that's not what I do. I have a
home studio, do all the stuff myself, and some
of the songs have singing on them. I really love
instrumental music - I love Jeff Beck, I love
Steve Vai - but I mix vocals in some songs
because I know people want to hear vocals. So,
it's half and half; I got a vocalist who's a good
friend, Michael Beatty, the bass player is Randy
Oviedo, and I started seeking a drummer. I play
guitar off of the drum rhythm, so the better the
drummer, the better I can play. In the past, I
was really lucky to play with some world-class
drummers; I did a lot of sessions with Ray
Luzier, who's in Korn now, and had a lot of his
tracks laying around, so Ray is playing on four
songs on Tramp because I put new riffs around
his tracks. Adrian Aguilaro played on one
tune, but the other seven songs were played by
Patrick Johansson, who has played with Yngwie

Which guitars
and amps do you
use?

I have a lways
u s e d t he s a me
stuff - a couple old
Marshalls, one is a
1969, the other is
from 1970, a couple
of old Randall RG100s from '85, and my main
guitar was made by Karl Sandoval, the guy who
made Randy Rhoads' polka-dot V. He made my
guitar in the '80s, and I still use it. Some of my
guitars are tuned lower, and David Cervantes
made me some baritone guitars. I'm not into
seven-strings because the necks are so wide
and my hands aren't that big. So, he made me
six-strings that are like baritones - the necks
are longer but they're still not that wide, and
I can tune them really low. I used that on a lot
of the songs, too.
How did you get the gig with Dio?

In '93, Ronnie was in an experimental mode.
He came out of Black Sabbath's Dehumanizer and
went back with Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain,
and they wanted to start a new Dio lineup. Their
first idea was to have a well-known guitarist, so
they talked to people like Neal Schon, Michael
Schenker, Vinnie Moore, and Yngwie. It just
didn't work, so Ronnie said, "We need to get a
less-known guitarist." So they tried out a bunch
of guys, and I was one of them. I had done an
album with Vinny and Jimmy, World War III, so
we knew each other. That was my ticket in. Ronnie never told me, "You have to play like Ritchie
Blackmore, Tony Iommi, Vivian Campbell, or
Craig Goldy." I got the gig because I played the
way I do, and he was fine with that. Jimmy was
only there for two weeks then they hired Jeff
Pilson. We just started jamming. It was like
being in a band when you're 15 in your garage,
with your friends. Except you've got Ronnie
James Dio singing! It was like I won the musical
lotto. - Greg Prato

VINTAGE GUITAR

22

March 2018

Ask Zac
WITH ZAC CHILDS

The reverse-shunt diode is usually
located near a pedal's DC jack.

I bought a used boutique overdrive
pedal from a friend, and in my haste
to use it hooked up a 9-volt AC power
supply, not realizing the unit requires
9-volt DC power. I turned it on and
there was a horrible warbling type
of hum, so I quickly shut it off. Since
then, I've purchased a regulated
9-volt DC supply for the unit and
it seems to work fine. Could the
momentary use of AC power have
damaged my unit in any way? - Will
DeBouver
If your pedal is working, that
means you were both quick to
unplug it and very lucky the reverseshunt diode in the circuit went above
and beyond its job. The reverseshunt diode is used in most effects
pedals to protect it from exposure to
reverse polarity, such as when the
ends of a 9-volt battery touch incorrect terminals or when a center-pinpositive 9-volt DC power supply is
used instead of the requires centerpin negative. However, the diode is
not able to protect a pedal from AC
voltage. In some cases, it can protect for a couple of seconds before
it fails or, worse, short circuits and
passes AC voltage across the circuit,
which would likely destroy the pedal.
Zac Childs is a guitar tech in Nashville.
If you have a question about guitars,
anything from nuts and bolts to historical
or celebrity-related inquiries, drop a line to
him at zac@askzac.com or visit facebook.
com/askzac.

Tracy G: Suzie Valles.

Malmsteen. I'd just
met him; I live in
California and he
lives in Florida. I got
him over to jam, and
the guy played like
a monster. I said,
"We've got to do an
album together." It
happened to work
out and he came to
my home studio,
played the tracks,
and played amazing. I write the songs
and riffs myself.


http://youtu.be/dRaIfsvEcSw http://facebook.com/askzac http://facebook.com/askzac http://www.vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open

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Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - IFC
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Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 4
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Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Contents
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