Nancy Wilson grew up in a musical family and began playing
instruments including ukulele and piano at an early age....but in the mid
1960's she was struck by the lightning bolt that was The Beatles and knew
she had to have a guitar. She almost immediately began to write songs and
put bands together, ultimately settling into a collaboration with her sister
Ann that became Heart, one of the
most successful rock&roll bands ever!
Soon the band was enjoying huge hits like Barracuda, Dog
and Butterfly, Even It Up, Magic Man, These Dreams and All I Wanna Do which
afforded them the opportunity to play to sold out audiences around the
Sparked by Nancy's creativity and tasteful guitar playing,
the band is still going strong today! In 2003 Heart released a live DVD from
the 2002 Summer Of Love Tour, completed another successful nationwide tour
(Alive in America Tour) and in 2004 released their latest studio album, Jupiter's
Darling, supporting it with yet another full European and USA tour.
Epiphone's Will Jones recently had the chance to chat
with Nancy at the 2005 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.
Nancy, thanks for joining us! What a
privilege this is for me
the very first concert I went to was in 1983
at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville
Heart and Kansas.
NANCY: Oh no...(laughs)
Ive always been impressed with
the fact that Heart has been revered as a legendary rock band, not just a
girl band, but serious rock legends and were all very excited at Epiphone
to have a relationship with you.
NANCY: Yes, were a rock band....and Thank
You! Im excited to have a relationship with
Epiphone too. You know, my whole thing has always been about vintage guitars.
Thats all Ive really played for the past ten years, so
when you guys sent me a guitar on the road I was kind of like ok, Ill
try it. I mean, Epiphone has a rich history and like Gibson, has been around
forever, so why not try it? But, when I plugged it into my set-up, it
WOW! This is really fun to play!...and it sounds great! That Epiphone
made me feel like Jimmy Page or something
You know! (Laughs) Then when
I got the prototype of the
Paul Ultra I took it into the studio and was able to find that
certain type of distortion that Im always looking for....and is hard
to find. The one where there's enough clean in it that if you
want to play open strings like an acoustic, you can....like the way Neil
Youngs distortion often sounds. Its beautiful enough to pull
off any style of playing, not just big rock block chords, you know? You can
play open strings or acoustic type figures and the distortion doesnt
cancel the open strings out. The Ultra brought that to me. I think it's partially
due to the open spaces inside the body.
NANCY: Yes, chambers, thank you, chambers inside
I was going to call them caverns! (Laughs) They make the
guitar lighter but also give it a new sound you dont get with a solid
body, a semi-hollowbody or a hollowbody. So, Im really loving that
guitar a lot!
Yeah its contoured too, and just
NANCY: Yeah it is. Im not a tall girl. Im
sort of a mid-sized person, semi-short so I also appreciate a guitar thats
not gonna pull me over (Laughs)
if I lean in one direction! (Laughs)
I used to play a big Les Paul on stage and it could really get to your shoulder
after a while. With the Ultra, theres no pain....and the sound....Im
loving that a lot.
All of the sound and none of the
NANCY: (Laughs) Yes! And in the studio I've noticed
the sound is a little richer because of the slightly acoustic tone. It's
not enough that its really different....I can still get that heavy,
fat-rockin sound but even when I play it acoustically in the room
theres a little more you can hear. It just shines without even plugging
it in....which is cool for a quote: solidbody.
We're thrilled that you like it so much
and feel like this guitar is going to be very successful. Thank you so much
for taking the time to chat today and thank you for choosing to play our
NANCY: Thank you and it's my pleasure.
For more information about Nancy Wilson and Heart visit
the bands official website at
Nancy with the new
Les Paul Ultra.
Nancy discusses the "chamber"
design of the Ultra with Gibson President Dave Berryman and Epiphone President
Left to Right: Jim Rosenberg
(Epiphone President) Nancy Wilson, Dave Berryman (Gibson President) and Henry
Juszkiewicz (Gibson Chairman and CEO).
Epi President Jim Rosenberg
shows Nancy the
Nancy checks out the Epi
line but obviously has an eye for the Ultra! (far