If, like me you have been following the fortunes of many guitar players on YouTube over the last few years you can’t fail to have come across the rather wonderful talent that is British guitar virtuoso Jacqueline Mannering. With one of her videos reaching almost 12 million views and most of the others easily topping the million mark I thought it was about time we caught up with her and found out a little about her guitar, gear and what she is up to now.
YF – Can you tell us a little about your background, where you grew up, were there any other musicians in your family and what inspired you to take up the guitar?
JM – I grew up in London. My dad is a bass player, so as a child, I would always see him rehearsing and jamming along to prog rock, funk and soul. So, I suppose he’s responsible for my love of music!
YF – I believe you attended the Guitar Institute in London, can you tell us a little about your time there?
JM – I had such a great time at the Guitar Institute. I was taught so much about the different aspects of becoming a professional musician. The place has a vibrant atmosphere, I would highly recommend it to any contemporary musician who is serious about their craft.
Following my studies at the Guitar Institute, I’m now doing a degree in Music Production for Media at Ravensbourne in Greenwich.
YF – You’re known for your work on electric guitar but do you also play acoustic? Would you say, from your own experience, it’s better to start out on one or the other?
JM – I love taking my acoustic out to the park or the forest, I find it really inspiring. I actually prefer to write songs on acoustic, because otherwise I get too distracted by effects and tone. Also, I believe that the foundation of a good song (basic chords and melody) should be equally as strong when played acoustically, as the fully produced studio version.
Personally, I did start learning on an acoustic, and I think that it helped me to strengthen my fingers in the early stages, but it’s hard to say as everyone’s different.
YF – Can you tell us about your equipment, preferred amps, effects etc and do you ever use software such as Amplitube or Guitar Rig?
JM – I’m sponsored by Carparelli Guitars, they made my signature guitar (the JM Arco F1). I’ve also been given a handmade custom guitar by Storey Guitars, it’s made from an exotic timber called Purple Heart, with an ebony fretboard, Gotoh floyd rose and Armstrong hand-wound pick ups.
I’m currently using a Mesa Boogie Mark Five 25 and I love it, especially the colour (I got it in baby blue). As for effects, I recently had a pedalboard made, and I’m so happy with it. The pedals are: Boss TU-3 Tuner, TC Sentry Noise Gate, Ibanez Airplane Flanger, Suhr Riot Distortion, TC Mimiq Doubler, Digitech Polara Reverb, TC Electronic Flashback x4 and TC Ditto Looper.
Amplitube plugins were used on my single “Raining”.
YF – You have an association with Caparelli Guitars and they made a signature Arco F1 for you? How did that come about and what are your thoughts about the Arco F1?
JM – I was modelling a Carparelli Guitar for a website called “Passionate about Guitars”, the boss, Mike Carparelli, loved the photographs and checked out my YouTube videos, he then offered me an endorsement. It means so much because they’ve given me tools to create music and it shows they believe in me. The same goes for my other sponsors and all the people who’ve supported me, I appreciate it massively.
Carparelli then offered to make me a signature guitar to any spec, and as you can imagine, I was stoked. The Arco F1 is cream with gold hardware, including a unique bridge. It’s really lightweight and the neck is slim which I like. It sounds really sparkly and clear, which is down to the P-90 pickups.
YF – Who are your main influences at the moment? Is there anyone who particularly inspires you?
YF – You made a video single “Raining” in which you sing as well as play the guitar. You got rather wet during that shoot? Can you tell us a little about the song and your experiences making that video? Hopefully there are more to come?
JM – Barry M cosmetics kindly sponsored me for the recording of the single and the music video. I filmed it with Nick Sneath, a music video director based in Brighton. It was a lot of fun, but yes, I did get drenched (thankfully with Nick Sneath’s guitar and not one of mine…)
My main focus is my studies at the moment, although I am gradually working on a new single in my precious spare moments of time.
YF – Do you play any other instruments or would you like to?
JM – I can play bass, but I would love to learn to play the keyboard, because it’s so useful in music production.
YF – If there is one piece of advice you could give to someone just starting out on the guitar, what would that be?
JM – Be true to yourself, don’t be afraid to be different or think outside the box. Then, with practice and over time, you could develop a really unique new style.