Q&A With Session Guitarist Doug Boduch (part 1)

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 19, 2011 at 9:43 AM

He's likely the most recorded session guitarist in Wisconsin, and even if you've never heard of him, if you've purchased a Hal Leonard instructional book in the past 10 years, you've almost certainly heard him play. Doug Boduch, one of our core instructors here at GuitarInstructor.com, has recorded nearly every guitar track on the 1,000-plus jam tracks at the site, not to mention countless audio CDs for our parent company, Hal Leonard Corporation. From B.B. King to Brad Paisley to Yngwie Malmsteen, Doug's our first call.

Doug Boduch lessonsDespite a freak roller-skiing accident that resulted in a dislocated thumb on his fret hand, Doug's still hitting the studio, but he took some time to talk to us about his rather unique studio gig, from how he got it to the biggest joys and challenges of copping the guitar parts of the greatest players on the planet.

Tell us about your background in guitar, and how you came to be the main HL session guitarist.
I started when I was 8, taking lessons from a nun in my grade school. I was learning to read notes and played classical style. A friend of mine then turned me on to KISS when I was 13 and that got me in to playing rock guitar. I got into a band at 14 and was playing clubs, doing the '80s hair metal thing. I remember playing on a Thursday night and coming in to school late with a note from my Mom saying, "Please excuse Doug from his first two classes, he was out late performing with his band". My folks let the band practice at the house. To say they supported me is a gross understatement.

I ended up touring the country with various bands and eventually found myself working in the Hal Leonard sales department answering phones and entering orders, while teaching a few students in the evenings. At the time, Hal Leonard had been contracting their audio production out to guys in New York and L.A., but were looking to move it closer to home. I was offered the chance on a freelance basis. They liked the quality of what I did and how quickly I got things done. It's been my main gig now for almost 13 years.

On average, how much time do you have in preproduction to learn the material, get tones, and so forth?
We generally do about one project per week. If it's an easier book, I can just do a quick read through and I'm ready to go. If it's Eric Johnson or Yngwie Malmsteen, that'll take some woodshedding. As far as tones, once I pick the right guitar, I can dial in a tone pretty quick. I'll get it in the ballpark and then do final tweaking in the mix.

What's the balance between learning a song and simply reading it?
For the most part, I'm reading everything. Since it's of utmost importance that my playing matches the chart, I can't rely on memory. I defintiely have a lot of sections memorized and might use the chart as a road map, but I couldn't play the full song without the paper.

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GuitarInstructor on December 22, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Sammy, Thanks for the comments. We'll certainly take your suggestion about getting tones into consideration for future lessons. As for navigating the fretboard, we've got several lessons available here on that topic. For starters, check out Fretboard Navigation (Doug Boduch), CAGED Licks (Doug Boduch), Connecting Pentatonic Positions (Tom Kolb), The Railroad Track (Tom Kolb), and Nailing the Changes with Arpeggios (Tom Kolb). Cheers, The GI Team

sammy zoso on December 19, 2011 at 9:27 PM

It's about time Doug got his props. The range of styles he plays and plays so well and his technical knowledge of music is very very impressive. Best of all he seems like a great, down to earth guy. If I lived in the Milwaukee area I'd want to take lessons with him but I guess GI will have to do. I have a question and a suggestion. I'd consider myself the consummate mid level player or just below even. I can't figure out how the fretboard ties together, how to move up and down the neck and create cool solos. Even luke warm solos would be good. Any thoughts on certain GI lessons to get a better understanding of how chords and solos work together and how to utlize the entire fret board? Also it would be cool if with the tabs and or/video songs there were suggetions on how to set the amp to get the tones similar to the songs being played. Some amps do that for you. It would be great to do it on your own, with some help from the site or instructor. My 2 cents. Thanks