On Friday, Billy Strings hosted a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session during which he answered fans’ burning questions about a variety of topics. Throughout the session, which lasted about two hours, Strings answered questions about his early influences, learning to play the guitar, collaborations with other musicians, his favorite Grateful Dead albums, and even his recently-formed friendship with Post Malone.
After joining the board around 12:30 p.m. ET, the first question Billy answered pertained to fishing and how he first got into the lifelong hobby.
When I was about four years old with my dad on his bass tracker. He tied on a frog for me and taught me how to bounce it across the lily pads. It was fun, like playing with a toy.
The very next question dealt with his other lifelong hobby, music, with a Reddit user asking how he could build up the kind of speed and accuracy Billy has while playing guitar. Here, Strings provided some insight on how he become such a talented player.
I was very lucky to have started out really young playing with my dad. I pretty much played every day. I don’t sit and practice scales, I just pick up my guitar and play. Ive been doing it for 24 years and Im 28. Just lots of practice man. Playing with other people is a good practice too. Try to fit into a musical group setting.
Also on the topic of influences, Billy Strings explained the impact that artists like Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, The Doors, and Greensky Bluegrass had on his musical direction.
I grew up listening to Hendrix, the Beatles, the Doors and when I started hanging around greensky bluegrass I realized they were taking their music on a ride and it was really fun. In a way, they showed me how to have fun with the freedom in music.
Staying on the topic of Greensky, Strings provided insight into his fighting abilities. When asked if he would rather fight one Paul Hoffman-sized duck or 100 duck-sized Paul Hoffmans, Strings chose the former. “I think I could take the duck. Id have that f*cker in a rear naked choke quick.”
Over the next few minutes Strings busted out a few rapid-fire responses to questions on several topics. He told fans about some undiscovered artists he’s been listening to recently, hip-hop artist RMR and the technical death metal band Cryptopsy, his desire to learn the sitar, and even a tip for an up-and-coming musician, telling the commenter, “Leave your musical boundaries at the door.”
Strings then answered two different redditors about his recent meeting with Post Malone. “I love Posty, he’s the sweetest dude ever, and Im really glad we’re buds. Id love to do something with him in the future,” he said before telling another redditor that we can expect this momentous collaboration to occur only in his dreams.
On the topic of collaborations, Strings also confirmed his desire to collaborate with Sturgill Simpson.
I would love to collaborate with Sturgill. We’ve talked on instagram a few times but we’re not close friends. I love everything he does.
Shortly after this exchange a very special guest entered the chat, none other than Jarrod Walker, the touring mandolinist for Billy Strings. Like the fans on Reddit, Walker had a very important question, asking if he and Billy were “real friends or just work friends.” “You’re my boyfriend,” Strings answered succinctly, putting all doubt to rest.
Before telling fans about his experience getting pulled over with Vince Herman, Strings answered a question about the coolest experience he had with David Grisman.
I was hanging at Dawgs house and we went into the basement where his studio is and I was showing him some of my new shit and he goes “do you want to hear how a real record is supposed to sound?” And then he pulls down the master reel from the Doc & Dawg sessions, puts it on the tape machine, and plays it thru the studio monitors. When the music started playing it was “Summertime” and it sounded better than real life. He told me that they just cut that after dinner one day, and I thought that was just so cool.
After explaining his desire to play with Michael Cleveland again, Strings then answered one of the most important questions of the thread, “American Beauty or Workingman’s Dead.”
“Workingman’s Dead. That’s a hard question, they are both so great,” he said, laying all doubt to rest.
To read more of the Billy Strings AMA, head over to Reddit.