Tools of the Trade: Part Two

Musicians Talk About Their Gear Collections.

Ultimate Guitar
Tools of the Trade: Part Two

It’s time for the second installment of answers to the question – “what is your favorite piece of gear?” As always, feel free to share your favorite pieces of gear from your collection with us.

Keith Nelson (Buckcherry):

I’m traveling with 16 guitars right now. And I do that because I can right now, not necessarily because I use them all. I’ve got a Gold Top that was made by Max - the infamous re-maker of the Les Paul - I have the only Gold Top he ever made. I’ve got a couple of ‘59 Custom Shop Gibson reissues - one of which was refinished by Bill Nash. I have one of Gibson’s 50th anniversary Korina Les Pauls out with me. I have a couple Nash Telecasters - Nash has a way of making guitars not only look like an old guitar but they actually feel like an old guitar and for someone who has a lot of old stuff - that feeling is priceless. I’ve also got a couple Zemaitis Guitars - they have a mahogany body with an aluminum top on it. I have a couple of them out with me and they perform great.

Right now I’m playing through a Victoria High Powered Twin and Mark Sampson of Matchless Amps fame has a new company called Star Amplifiers - I bought one of his AC-30 heads which he calls the ACDC-30. He heard that I had been looking for an old Vox AC-50 Head. So we got him talking and he ended up making me a clone and I love it, so I have that one on the road with me.

[Fun Fact: Keith actually has two Nash Teles – one was built to be a copy of one that Keith Richards used. The other was custom built for him – he affectionately calls it “Jenny”]

Tim Sult (Clutch):

Justin: It’s no secret that we’re getting old, you and I. Are you getting that mid-life crisis bug where you start to build a collection of vintage and rare guitars?

Tim: I think I’ve had that bug for a long time but I’ve never had enough money to collect the guitars I want to collect. I’d love to have an arsenal of twenty Les Pauls but I can barely afford one at this point. But there was a point in my life where I thought that only the really expensive Gibson Les Paul Customs were good enough for me. But my guitar I use right now is an 80’s Les Paul Custom and it plays better than any Custom I’ve ever played. They’re definitely really beautiful and they sound great but I think what it comes down to is that my hands are just too small to play most really expensive Les Pauls. I should just start playing Ibanez.

[Fun Fact: Tim only used one guitar, a Les Paul Jr. with a P90, and two amps – a JCM 900 and JTM45 - to record the entire Earth Rocker album.]

Kyle Gass and John Konesky (Tenacious D):

KG: Oh my God, we have some crazy gems. We have a Larson. John, tell him about the Larson.

John: The Larson is a 1920’s parlor guitar that was made by the Larson Brothers. They’re really rare and amazing guitars that have stood the test of time. Apparently Jimi Hendrix had a Larson parlor guitar that was his go-to around the house guitar and it is believed that he wrote a lot of his stuff on that guitar. But they’re fantastic and they’re really hard to come by. Our friend Al is a guitar collector and he sort of gifted/permanently loaned it to Kyle.

KG: Yeah that’s the weird thing; I don’t really feel like it’s mine. He knows I don’t play it on stage and I think he was kind of hoping that I would. But he asked me not too long ago if I wanted to trade it in for something newer and I flat out said no. I don’t want to play a rare, expensive instrument on stage. But David Crosby, I read in an interview, said “I just play the very best ones and I take the risk because they’re meant to be played” and I think there’s something to that argument and that’s where I was thinking about getting an old Martin. It’s just that you really would have to take care of it but it can be done, they have some great cases out there.

John: I have a friend who is an amazingly talented luthier named Ray Kraut who lives in the Pacific Northwest and we’ll be swinging by his shop when we tour through there very soon. His guitars are just insane works of art. But I love the idea of you acquiring an old Martin too. I think that would be a perfect guitar for you.

KG: You know what; we use them in the studio. So at the very least, we’d have a great guitar in the studio that we could record with. It’s never bad to have a great instrument around.

John: Were you going to tell him about the duo of custom electric Tenacious D guitars?

KG: Yeah, they’re not really playable. But Jack did that video game, Brutal Legend, and the video game company made us these two custom electric guitars that are kind of indescribable. Maybe you could describe them better than I can, John.

John: It’s like a wild kind of offset Z shape body. They’re made by Alembic [The folks at Alembic have dubbed this guitar “The Love Giver”]. The headstock is like this curly carved thing. The body itself has a three dimensional relieved molded composite mural of The D in hell with all these nude women and devils and fire and brimstone. It’s fully heavy metal. It’s got “Tenacious D” in old English abalone inlays along the entire fretboards. They made two identical guitars.

KG: They look like they mean business, like they’re well-made but I think we plugged one in and we weren’t really that impressed with the sound of it.

John: Well it was good for the sound of what that guitar looked like. It sounded really heavy and thick with high gain.

KG: It’s actually really heavy too, which I don’t like. I don’t like a really heavy guitar. You’ve got to carry those things around, you know.

John: It’s like when you play a Strat or a Tele, the guitar feels good in your hands because it was designed that way. These guitars were not designed with any of that stuff in mind.

KG: You know what it reminds me of, The Empress. That was really heavy and was not fun to play. I think it actually had a goldfish in it.

Justin: What’s “The Empress”?

John: Oh, where to begin… it was a homemade. I would say handmade but that would imply that it was good. This was a homemade guitar. It was made out of….I don’t even know what. It looked like that outsider art kind of shit, like weird metal sculptures and yeah, there was a fish tank in there. It had a Kaoss Pad thing where you could wave your hand in front of it and it would make stupid noises. It just didn’t sound good…or feel good…or look good. It was a disaster.

KG: I think it’s pretty common for custom guitars [like that] to not sound good, the ones that look really bad ass anyway. Like the one that Danny Farrington made for The Pick of Destiny, the one that I gift Jack in the movie, that’s a really great guitar but not really fun to play. I think that was a rush job, like he focused on the look and got it done for the movie. It’s got the special inlays on the fretboard. Danny is just an insane guitar builder and a great guy.

John: You have that cigar box guitar that Matty Beratto made for you. He makes the cigar box guitars for Paul McCartney now.

KG: That’s a great one. I think everyone who’s anyone has one now. They’re really popular. They’re just fun and they sound pretty good. He makes a lot of variations of them too.

John: He makes amps out of wine crates now that pair with the guitars. He’s an artist. What else do we have over there in the rehearsal space?

KG: Well we have a couple Martins and a BC Rico, the first D guitar. Gibson has given us some great guitars. We’ve got some Les Pauls. I think John has the largest collection of BC Rich guitars.

John: Yeah the Mockingbirds used to be my main guitars. I don’t use them very much anymore, now I only use them for the heavy stuff. I like to use my Teles now for the rest of it. I like the feeling of having a workhorse guitar in my hands. It’s the right tool for the job. It’s like a Honda Accord, it gets you there.

Justin: Have you used any of your crazy instruments or the Larson on any of your records?

John: I don’t think we’ve ever used any of the crazy customs or the Larson on any records. It seems like the dreadnoughts sound good because they sound like The D when you put a mic in front of them. I think that’s more the idea than trying to chase some crispy guitar sound. The D sound is a dreadnought standard.

KG: It’s interesting though, I remember recording “Fuck Her Gently” and that was on the Santa Cruz because it had a more of a delicate sound. For “39”, Jack had gotten this new Rain Song and it just sounded right for that song.

John: The Rain Song is actually all over the Rize of The Fenix.

KG: It has a really nice recorded sound. Jack’s is the lower priced model but it’s the winner as far as sound goes if you ask me.

John: Then you liked Jack’s so much that we got you that one with the shark inlays on it that looked like something Greg Norman would own.

KG: Yeah I got a guitar and a driver in one purchase. Now they’re the dressing room guitars. We plugged it in and the graphite could take out an electrical grid. It messed with the wireless signal and it kept cutting in and out, it was really annoying. It’s taken a beating and it keeps on ticking. I had to buy the Rain Song actually, they wouldn’t give me one. They gave me a good deal though.

John: Remember when I was talking to their rep over there and he kept calling you Lyle. I kept writing him back and hinting that your name was actually Kyle but I don’t know if he ever did get it right.

Robby Krieger (The Doors):

I don’t have a lot of old guitars like some people but I do have some pretty good ones. I’ve got a ‘60 Les Paul Sunburst which I call the “Kreigerburst”. I’ve got an old Johnny Smith (A 1964). I have a Wes Montgomery L7 which is real nice. I’ve got some 355s and a couple of 335s. I’ve got a few SGs and a couple of good Strats. I’ve got a ‘59 Strat that I really like. I’ve got a couple of Dobros and some flamenco guitars - a ‘63 Ramirez which is the one I used on the record.

[Fun Fact: If you want to hear that ’63 Ramirez in action, check out “Spanish Caravan”. Robby does sometimes use a pick but prefers to play without. Also, a lot of the slide guitar on The Doors’ albums was played on a ’54 Les Paul Custom that Robby still owns.]

Ron Thal (Guns N' Roses, Art of Anarchy, Lita Ford):

Justin: Now, you’ve got some pretty wild custom guitars. You’ve got the one shaped like a giant foot. Could you tell me a bit about those?

Ron: The “Bumblefoot” guitar, I’m sort of keeping in retirement right now. 8 years of beating the crap out of it and taking it everywhere. One night in Athens [with Guns & Roses] I hit the bar to make the wings pop out and it just broke open and the wings fell on the ground. I have a double neck I was going to bring it out. But this tour was such short notice. It’s a fretted neck and a fretless neck. But maybe for one or two of her shows I’ll bring that out.

Justin: (Ron has another custom called the “Swiss Cheese” guitar) what possessed you to drill a bunch of holes in a guitar?

Ron: It’s the kind of thing where you just start throwing paint on a canvass and after five minutes or so you take a look at it and call it art. With that guitar, I wanted it to look like someone took a bite out of it. And I did it and I didn’t like the way it looked. So I just took a bunch of different sized drill bits and just started drilling the fuck out of it. And then I went to the grocery store and bought a block of Swiss cheese, took it to the paint store and asked if they could match that color. They didn’t even think it was weird. The lady said the other day, somebody brought in a walnut and had her match the color. Anyways, she mixed up some paint for me. And I bought a sprayer I painted it myself and lost a lot of brain cells that way.

[Fun Fact: Ron often puts on guitar clinics for kids while on tour. He’s done them all over the world. To my knowledge, he’s never accepted money for teaching guitar. He has offered me advice on many occasions regarding creating music programs within Minnesota’s Prisons and Juvenile Correctional Facilities]

Val McCallum (Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Loretta Lynn, Sheryl Crow, Harry Nilsson):

JB: You’ve got an amazing rack of guitars on the road. Could you tell me a bit about each of the guitars you’ve got on the road with you on this tour with Jackson Browne?

VM: Jackson is calling this "The Comforts of Home Tour". He wanted us all to bring as much gear as we wanted so I’ve got a dozen or so guitars out with me - mostly vintage. I have a ‘59 Dot neck 335 that I got from my friend Mike Landau tuned to E-flat. It’s completely stock and the PAFs sound beautiful. I have two Les Pauls out with me on this tour - a ‘54 Goldtop (in standard tuning) and a ‘55 Custom (tuned up a half step) with an Alnico front pickup that sounds incredible. Both of those are stock. Then I’ve got a ‘63 Fiesta Red Strat that I got from a guitarist friend Freddy Koella. It’s one of the best Strats I’ve ever played and I use that one a lot on stage. I’ve got a 60s Dan Electro Baritone and a ‘59 Martin D-28 with Flat wound strings that I used to make my cd. I’ve got a couple of Jackson's guitars out as well. A custom Telecaster built by our friend and Heartbreaker Scott Thurston (tuned to D) and a “Coodercaster” slide guitar built by Flip Skippio (tuned open F). It has the Tiesco pickup in the front position and a Supro lap Steel pickup in the back. And lastly I’ve got my green telecaster copy (Willie) that's been one of my favorite workhorses for years. It’s tuned to E-flat.

JB: Has anyone ever given you a hard time about taking vintage guitars like that on the road? I’m sure there are certain people who would put them in a glass case and never touch them for fear of damage or lessening the value of the guitars.

VM: I bought them to play them. I can’t leave them in the closet. That just doesn’t work for me. If you don’t play an instrument, you'll never really understand the have to learn where its magic lies and what its quirks are. I love old guitars. I love the feel and sound of aged wood. I love the smell. You should stick your nose in the f-hole of that 335 before you go. You won’t be sorry.

JB: What are some other highlights of your guitar collection? You’ve got some amazing stuff out on the road with you, so I’m curious as to what you’ve got at home.

VM: I’ve got a ‘57 PAF Goldtop, a ‘58 Fender Esquire, a ‘59 Jazzmaster, a ‘63 SG Les Paul, a ‘61 ES 330, I have a couple of ‘64 Firebirds, a Guild Duane Eddie, a ‘67 J200, a 1930s Roy Smeck, a 30s LO - my favorite recording acoustic, and a 1920s Martin D21. That’s about it. I do have a few new things that I use for studio tools. I love my Jeff Beck Signature Strat. It’s really in tune and has silent pickups.

JB: What do you use for amps and pedals on the road with Jackson Browne?

VM: My amp setup is a ‘64 Deluxe Reverb and a Leslie Cabinet. The pedal board is small and relatively simple. I have the Green Line 6 Delay pedal, a DOD Reverb pedal, a Tremulator, a Menatone Red Snapper, Foxy Brown pedals, a volume pedal, and a tuner.

[Fun Fact: Val McCallum is the step-son of Charles Bronson. Val also went to high school with Michael Jackson. In fact, his first gig was at the school and Michael Jackson helped him set up for that gig.]

Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom):

I’m not really a collector type of guy. I just love playing them. I do have a Stevie Ray Vaughn Stratocaster. I love playing that thing. I have one Jackson but other than that, I just have my signatures. I’m sure at some point I’ll buy a telecaster or something just for the hell of it.

Dan Hawkins (The Darkness):

Dan: I’ve got a few. I’m not a collector, you see, if I’m not using something, it goes quite quickly. I’m quite ruthless that way. But I think the up-side of that is that every one of my guitars is really great and I can’t get rid of it, I wouldn’t be able to live without them. The bulk of my collection these days are Les Paul Standards pretty much from the same year. I’ve got three Les Paul Standards that I really like that were built in the year 2000. Those are my tools. They are what I need to get my job done. The rest of my collection is made up of odds and sods really, I’ve got a 64 Casino which I just love. I’ve got this guitar that Gibson built for Jimmy Page that ended up in my possession.

Justin: The Black Beauty…

Dan: Yeah it’s a Black Beauty; it’s like the ‘57 one that he has, remade. It’s the untainted one which really was true to the original. It was too heavy for him [Jimmy Page], it’s got loads of hardware on it, I think it’s the heaviest Les Paul ever made so they gave it to me instead because I was looking for one at the same time as it turned out. So I’ve got that and then I’ve got a white Les Paul Standard that’s got Seymour Duncans in it and I call that my metal guitar, that’s my shredder. It’s a very clean shredder and it sits well beneath my angrier sounding Les Pauls in the studio. That’s about it really.

Tony Rombola (Godsmack, Apocalypse Blues Revue, Another Animal):

Yeah I had more [gear] but I’ve recently whittled it down to the stuff I love. I was collecting Marshalls for a while. I had a bunch of 60’s 70’s and 80’s Marshalls. I kept the holy grail amps like my Plexi stuff, Silver Jubilee, 1965 Reissue 1845 100 with the block lettering on it. They made those back in ’05 and I have one of those. Those are my favorites and I feel like I’ve got the Marshall Tone in a headlock with those amps so I don’t have any need to buy any more. I used to have a bunch of them and I kept coming back to the same three or four so I just got rid of the rest. For Fender stuff, I’ve got a ‘62 Bassman with a 2x12 cab, a’65 Super Reverb. I’m looking for a Deluxe Reverb. I’d like to find a nice Blackface Deluxe Reverb. Now that were doing the blues thing with clubs [Apocalypse Blues Revue], it changes your whole thinking. I’ll need a backup amp so I’ll probably take the Deluxe Reverb for a backup for my Super Reverb. Or if I’m playing a smaller room and I can’t turn the Super Reverb up to the volume I like, then I can use the Deluxe Reverb. Everything is relative to the volume you’re at so you almost need the right amp size, I think, for the room you’re playing. I like to run my Super Reverb at a 5 or 6, that’s where it’s just starting to break up but I still have that punchy clean tone. Then I can use my pedals to get my tone.

For Godsmack, I have Diamond Amps. I’m using Paul Reed Smith Guitars. I don’t really have many effects. I have a Dunlop Rack Wah with a couple remote wahs on the stage. I have a noise gate Boss NS-2, the white one. I’ve got a phazer [Boss Phazer] in there for “Voodoo”. I have a Boss Digital Delay that I barely use aside from the intro in “Straight out Of Line” and “Generation Day”. That’s about it. It’s usually just straight drive guitar into a wireless. We’ve always been that way – just straight in your face guitar tone. We used some different amps [in the studio] though. We used Blackstar and a couple other high gain amps and we’ll just kind of mix them up to give some depth to the tone. Sully has a couple different guitars that he’s been using on records now. He’s got a couple hollow bodies on the last records, he used a 335. But mostly it’s just Les Pauls. A couple Strats might have been used for overdubs over the years but not much else.

Zach Myers (Shinedown):

I’ve got a ’58 Burst Les Paul which is a pretty rare one. People think they didn’t start making Burst Les Pauls until ’59 but it was actually the last three months on ’58 that they did it. I have a ’64 Mary Kay Strat that means a lot to me. I have a ’68 335 that I used on this entire record. It’s actually the main sound on the record [Threat to Survival]. That’s probably my top 3. I have some old Martins. I have a 1938 Gibson, I don’t know if it was a Western of what but I think it was pre-J-45. It’s one of my favorite guitars. I had a guitar stolen, an airline didn’t lose it, but I had one that was stolen – it was a ‘68 [Gibson] Dove and I still look for it every two weeks or so on Reverb, or eBay, or Craigslist. That was a heartbreaker, losing that one. But when I was a kid, I made a list of like ten guitars that I wanted to own. I started touring when I was fourteen so it was around then. But they were guitars that I couldn’t afford or couldn’t find. So I started buying them and I have five of them now. I still need to find the other five. So that’s where I’m at now in the gear buying world.

Xan McCurdy (Cake):

Xan: The guitar [I use on stage] is a Gibson Chet Atkins Tennessean. It’s a guitar that I first liked the look of because it looks like your favorite British band’s first guitar – the big shitty mid-60’s hollowbody things. I have a nice little Harmony and a nice Kay. I don’t dare bring those on tour because far too many times, I’ve gotten off of the plane and gotten to the gig, opened up the guitar case and found the neck separated from the body. So I thought I’d buy a guitar that I could tour with without caring too much about it so I bought this and fell in love with it. It’s a pretty cool guitar. I like where the knobs and the pickup selector are situated. I put a Bigsby on it which is awesome. It’s a real pain in the ass to change strings.

It’s a really versatile guitar. I don’t have a backup guitar; it’s the only one I play on stage. I thought about getting another one just like it to bring on tour as a backup but they don’t make them anymore. I bought a Chet Atkins County Gentleman thinking that it was going to be very similar but it turned out to be not very similar at all.

For an amp I have a Fender Blues Deville and I bought that in 1998. I had used Fender Twins and Bassmans prior to that. I really thought it would be a nice amp that I could beat up a bit on the road and I think it’s turned out to be much more than that. Sometimes we rent backline and I would pick a Fender amp with a similar sounding name and the Blues Deville is far and away much better than all of them. I play through a Rat Distortion Pedal that I keep on top of the amp and I don’t use on and off, I just dial it in and leave it like that. I like the Rat Pedal and I don’t know how to explain in distortion terms but the rate of the buzz, I like to have a lot of that. There’s something about the Rat is that it seems to make your tone very cold. So on the Blues DeVille amp I have the Bass set to 12 and the Treble is on 1. So the sound doesn’t come out particularly bass-y after going thru that pedal.

I used to have a very strange amp – it had almost no names on it. It was an old tweed combo amp and all it said on the back was something like Earth Sound Research. It was a 115 and it had a little bit of a crackling problem. I took it into the shop and asked them to fix it numerous times and it never got fixed so it would sometimes make crackling noises in the middle of a song. I sold that amp and I wish I hadn’t because it was awesome and I’d like to find something like that to use in the future, something with one big 15 inch speaker.

Devon Allman (Royal Southern Brotherhood, Honeytribe):

I started endorsing Fuchs Amps last year and I’ve got a Signature Amp through them - it’s a 100 watt amp with a 2x12 cab and it’s just killer. My number one guitar is the ‘59 Historic Les Paul that Gibson gave me, Les Paul actually signed it himself which was an amazing night for me. As far as effects go, I’m not a big fan. I like the direct plugged in sound, but I use a Dunlop Wha Wha. That’s about it. [Devon is Greg Allman’s son]

Joel Kosche (Collective Soul):

Justin: What is the secret to your tone with Collective Soul?

Joel: Ed [Roland] is very into experimenting with different amps and pedals - so anything goes at any time. Every song might be a different setup on the records. I always push to use the amps and the guitars I like which boils down to my MJ Mirage Guitars and I usually use a homemade amp that I built that I call the Sugarfuzz, which is this hot rodded Marshall/VOX type thing. It’s like a Marshall and a Vox smashed together. I also use amps by a company called Splawn which have a very hot-rodded Fender tone. And then I use AC-30s. Whenever I can that’s what I use and on my solo record that what I used.

Justin: How long have you been messing around with building amps?

Joel: About 12 years - going back to my guitar tech days. Ed had some old VOX AC-30s from the 60s and they were always blowing up so I figured I should learn how to fic that stuff. So I bought some books and one thing led to another and then I was tinkering with them and modding them, putting different gain stages in, stuff like that. [Joel was the guitar tech for Collective Soul before joining the band]

James Lynch (Dropkick Murphys):

I’ve got two 1981 Gibson Les Paul Standards. There’s one that I’ve been using for a very long time and I got so used to it that other guitars just didn’t feel right so I tracked down the exact same guitar for a backup. I don’t use any effects. I’ve been using Marshall JCM800 heads, but recently we’ve been trying to get the stage volume down to save our ears so I’ve been using an Orange Rocker 30. I’ve been using the Orange the past few tours. I still like the Marshalls because they have a lot of personality but they can be inconsistent and the Orange is a little more stable.

The Dropkick Murphys guitar tone has been all about the Les Pauls and Marshalls. My dad, first and foremost, was a guitar player and he taught me how to play. Steve Jones’ guitar sound on that Sex Pistols album (Anarchy in the UK) is just phenomenal and I think it’s one of the best guitar sounds on any record, punk or otherwise.

[Fun Fact: Dropkick Murphys played with the Sex Pistols on their reunion tour in 2003. Steve Jones had some guitar issues one night and borrowed James’ Epiphone (bus guitar) for the remainder of the tour.]

Billy Howerdel (A Perfect Circle):

Justin: If you had to do a last minute gig, what setup would you bring?

Billy: It would be my main guitar, which is a 1960 Classic Reissue Les Paul that’s pretty modded and customized. It’s got Tom Anderson pickups on it and the headstock is on at the wrong angle. I’ve actually talked with Gibson about a signature model and we might revisit that. I just talked with somebody two months ago about it. So it would be that guitar, the rest would depend on the band but if it’s quick and dirty and we need to get there lightly, it would be my little Gibson GA15RV amp and probably just the little Line 6 delay pedal – the little green one. I think that would be a pretty good setup. I do a lot of feedback interaction with the cab and rolling the volume and when I play through a simulator, I still haven’t found one that reacts the same way when I turn down the volume and try to get a certain harmonic out of the feedback from the cab. My main amp that I’ve used for years is a 1978 JMP Super Lead 100.

John Benjamin "JB" Brubaker (August Burns Red):

I play Ibanez exclusively. I can’t say I’m much of a vintage guy. I like mostly modern stuff. I’ve seen some cool music store sand guitar shops and stuff over the years but I don’t own and cool vintage gear. All my stuff is relatively new. Sorry, that’s boring.

Brian Bell (Weezer):

My favorite guitar that I own is at this time is my 1967 Telecaster Thinline which is all mahogany and it was the first expensive guitar I bought. The reason I bought it was that I had a trunk full of guitars in my car that was stolen at my house one night after a gig. I had a Fender Precision Bass, I had a Travis Bean Guitar which I played on a lot of the early Weezer albums – especially Pinkerton and that had SG Melody Maker pickups which I traded out for some Seymour Duncan Hot Rail pickups. That guitar meant a lot to me because it was “The Pinkerton Guitar” so I was devastated and Rivers told me, “Why don’t you take this opportunity to buy the guitar you’ve always wanted?” and I’ve always wanted a good telecaster and I didn’t know anything about the Thinlines but I went into Voltage Guitars and I played this guitar. It was one of the first years that the Thinlines were made and it just had this great tone to it and I loved the way the neck felt. Usually that’s the first thing I look for in a guitar is how the neck feels. I bought that guitar for 3,500 dollars. It seemed so extravagant at the time but it’s worth more now. I never buy guitars purely for investment purposes but it’s nice to know that they do appreciate over time.

I also have a Gibson 330, I believe it’s a ‘66 or ‘67. It’s got block inlays instead of the dots. I really like the sound of the hollow body with P-90 pickups. I used that guitar a lot on a song from the new album called “Where’s My Sex?” off the new Hurley record which is a very interesting song as well.

[Fun Fact: Brian is extremely well versed in music theory and also plays keyboards, harmonica, and pretty much any other instrument you hear on Weezer albums]

Charlie Starr & Paul Jackson (Blackberry Smoke):

Paul: I play an Orange Rockford 50 combo a Gibson Firebird 7. I have a ‘79 Les Paul Standard and a ‘52 reissue Tele that I play on stage. We love Orange Amps. We are endorsed by the, we had a few that they gave us and some asshole broke into our trailer and stole them. They gave us three more which was super cool of them because we didn’t have the money to but three new ones. That’s kind of what started our relationship with them. God Bless Orange. I’ve also got a Hummingbird that Gibson gave me, Thank you Gibson. My dad is a bluegrass player and he loves old Martin acoustics. But I brought that Hummingbird over to him and he wasn’t impressed until he played it. He was like, “Holy shit, they made a good one.” It’s got a big spectrum of sound. I’ve got an old National Resonator that I keep at the house.

Charlie: I’ve got a 56 Les Paul Jr. That’s my main guitar. It’s kind of a Frankenstein guitar. It’s an old road warrior. I love it. The pickups are original but the rest of the hardware has been upgraded over the years. Somebody somewhere along the line painted it black. I wish they hadn’t, but whatever. It’s got a thing about it. I’ve had it since ’94. Then I’ve got a Dan Armstrong Guitar – it’s that clear guitar. Billy Gibbons gave me that when we were on the road with ZZ Top. God Bless Billy Gibbons. My next guitar is that naked Tele. I’m a P90 guy and that one has a P90 in it as well as a Danelectro lipstick tube in the neck position. Its funky sounding. I love it. Then I’ve got an SG One. I don’t know what year it is because the serial number is gone. Our drummer bought it on eBay. I didn’t like the color – it was like a dark red, almost purple looking. So I bought some GoldTop paint from the internet and painted it gold. I bought an Antiquity P90 and put that in. I like the tone of that guitar – it reminds me of Ronnie Wood’s tone how it had that sharp crackle to it. I’ve also got a Tele B-Bender.

Justin: What is it about the P90 that you like so much?

Charlie: Because we’re not high gain guitar players, the way that I play, I find a little more character in a P90 than I do a humbucker or a PAF. Being a player, it’s all in your hands anyway. I always liked the contrast between Duane Allman and Dicky Betts tones. Dicky’s was just a little brighter and Duane’s was a little lower mids. I like that contrast so it works with our two guitar players having that slight tonal difference. I hope that we can achieve that tone marriage like that.

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    Ron is genuinely so much cooler now in my books after reading that. What a humble dude.
    That Zach Myers entry ignores his actual touring guitars. Its an absurd amount of amazing PRS guitars.
    Wow. Tim Sult saying that he can't afford a les Paul really surprised me. I always thought the guys from clutch made a decent amount of money and had endorsements and stuff. Well one more reason to buy their records and go to their shows.
    I opened for Devon Allman last summer. Guy has some very excellent tone from those amps.