AXEMEN SERIES | Jay Bonventre, The Altruist.

Q1. Can you tell us your name and the band/project you play for?
My name is Jay Bonventre. I write music and play guitar in the band The Altruist. I’m also working on currently unreleased music for a solo project

Q2. Who made you want to pick up and play the guitar?
No one in particular. I was really into nu-metal bands when I picked up the guitar but quickly leaned towards bands like Metallica and Megadeth. I think I learned the whole Metallica repertoire in my first few years of playing. I became obsessed with Kirk Hammet and Dave Mustaine.

Q3. Are you self taught or did you take music lessons?
Mostly self taught. Took a few lessons at the beginning but I wasn’t really interested. I wanted to play heavy and fast music which my teacher wasn’t interested in teaching me that. I mostly learned with guitar tabs and online videos at the beginning. Then I was blessed enough to be surrounded by amazing musicians from which I learned a ton!

Q4. Can you read music and can you read tab?
I can read tabs and chord charts. Can’t read music sheets though (no sight-reading at least).

Q5. Do you feel like you have your own sound or tone?
Not really, nor I try to. I get very inspired by the music that I like and just try to make something of my own out of it. I don’t pretend having a definitive sound, but people around me usually recognize when it’s me or my music playing.

Q6. Can you tell us about your guitar ( brand, model, year, colour)?
I have 3 main guitars. Ibanez RG Series that my dad bought me 15 years ago and two other relatively cheap guitars that I bought online that became “guitar projects”. Changed pretty much everything on those guitars.

Q7. What about your pickups, are they passive or active? Can you tell us more about them?
I have 3 different sets: Seymour Duncan Pegasus & Sentient (Passive). These pick ups are incredible and probably my favourite ones. Super phat tone on high gain settings while still keeping a crystal clear sound for chord voicing. The cleans sound incredible as well  Fishman Fluence Modern (Active). Extremely versatile set of pick ups. They can do pretty much any style of music!
DiMarzio D Activator (Passive)

Q8. Let’s get into amplification, can you tell us what made you choose it (brand, model, speakers)?
My current live setup is only a POD HD Pro plugged in direct. My band and I are playing with an in-ear monitoring system and we want to avoid bringing too much gear when playing gigs. However, I have a Matrix GT800FX Power Amp and a Vader Cab which sound absolutely killer when paired together.I also do a lot of home studio production and mainly use the Neural DSP products for guitar and bass. I have KRK Rokit 5 studio monitors.

Q9. Do you have a pedal board? Can you tell us about the pedals you like to use?
I don’t use pedals. My POD is directly plugged in a computer which receives midi inputs for patch changes. I always found that using pedals live added stress during my live performances. Now I can just focus on playing and the computer handles any tone switches.

Q10. What would be your dream rig?
I’m not the most tech-savy player so I would say that what I own is pretty close to my perfect rig. However, I’d love to own a more recent Axe-FX or a Kemper.

Q11. What guitarist can you not stand and explain why?
I don’t have guitarists that I can’t stand, but what I can’t stand is people referring to the same 3 guitarists from the last 50 years as a benchmark for guitarists (like Santana and David Gilmour). I respect the impact they had on modern music, but in my opinion, modern players are light years ahead of these guys.

Q12. Do you think tone more important or is technique more important for you?
I’m not the most technical player so I want to say tone. And by tone I mean the feel and emotion you put in your playing. I think I compensate my lack of technical skills with how I phrase my licks. I see so many technical efficient players that can’t control their vibrato or bends. However, there’s still technique to master to have a great tone, so both are as important I guess.

Q13. Can you name your top 5 guitarists?
David Maxim MicicAaron MarshallRick GrahamMark HolcombMikael Akerfeldt.


Wes is the owner of Metal Moose, Metal Coffee, The Metal Times and The Pitchfork Syndicate, and he has 20 years of the biz under his belt, focused on the indie heavy music scene from the unlikely location of Oklahoma City. Wes is bringing his Guitar Series Axemen and Underground Spotlight to MHF.