If you haven't already heard the name Joe Trohman, you won't be able to ignore it for much longer. Formerly, the guitarist of Fall Out Boy, Trohman, is taking on a much heavier and explosive role as guitarist in the super group The Damned Things. As a guitarist Joe's versatility in sound and ability to jump from one genre to another is what makes him a unique addition to The Damned Things as well as to the guitar community in general. Check out the gear Joe's uses out the road that allows him to create not only the sound you'll associate with The Damned Things but all the gear he experiments with as well.
Fender '93 American Standard Telecaster
Fender Blacktop Telecaster
From his American Standard to his Custom Squire Joe is a true blue Fender player.
"On tour with me I have three different telecasters. A '93 American Standard, the other one is a Black Top Telecaster, and the other one is this Squire by Fender that they kind of made for me. We might make more of them, or not. I'm not so sure how signature worthy I ambut none-the-less, it's a very cool guitar. It's very unique, it's a custom shop but it is a Squire and then I also have a Midas custom shop with me but that's the backup. It's not that it's a bad guitar, it's a phenomenal guitar, but it usually sits in case because I'm sharing rack space with somebody."
With a player like Joe, versatility is a big part of his sound and gives him the ability to take on such different projects. To get the most out of his sound he opts for DiMarzio pickups, know for their Dual-Resonance design which uses two asymmetrical coils tuned to different frequencies it allows guitarists to produce unique sounds.
"They're mostly DiMarzio Pickups and stock pickups. But I changed out the single bridge in the American Standard Tele to a DiMarzio Fast Track T Pickup and in the neck I changed to a Blue Velvet - really good blend - and also because the American Standard is a no chamber body so for a telecast it means it's physically heavy and when you throw that in it, it's pretty powerful. So I guess for the single coils I like the Blue Velvet, and if I'm gonna do a rail I'll do the Fast Track. For Humbuckers I like the BluesBucker in the neck and then for the bridge usually vintage PAF 36th Anniversary. The Custom Shop Squire has those in there."
Orange Thunderverd 200
As a metal guitarist in The Damned Things the Thunderverb is the perfect way to crank out those low-end tones and still allow them to keep their integrity so they sound flabby or broken up with distortion when pushed through an amp.
"I'm using an Orange Thunderbird 200 Watt Head. That's what I've been using for awhile. I've always been with Orange but I switched to that from the Rockerverb. I run that through a 4x12 - it's an orange - I'll only do Orange to Orange. To me it's the only thing that makes sense to do, the pairing, there's a reason, I think there's a point to it. I think they compliment each other and they're made to."
"It's not a super complicated pedal board. I have a Fulltone Clyde WAH, an Xotic Effects Booster, two Way Huge Pedals - Swollen Pickle and the Aqua Puss Delay an original Digitech Whammy, the Boss OC-3, and I use a Pitch Black tuner - I like it because I have bad vision and I can actually see it! I guess they call it Pitch Black for a reason. And I just got the Fulltone Ultimate Octave Pedal and I've been messing around with that so I think I'm going to work that into my board as well. I might actually use it for my normal rhythm tone actually in conjunction with the distortion."
"I don't honestly think strings matter. But I've been using Dean Markley Strings for awhile, I'm comfortable with them and they've been great with me - they give me free strings so I stuck with them."
"With The Damned Things we've got two different tunings right now. We're running D/Drop C and then a step up from there. And then lately I've been writing in Drop C and Drop C#"
BRANDING YOUR SOUND AS A GUITARIST
"I used to feel that pressure and I still do sometimes but I'm also young still and people spend a lot of time trying to find their sound. The cool thing about me, I think, is, I'm always changing my stuff. Whether it's stuff I write for The Damned Things or Fall Out Boy I'm always changing the sound and the way I play things. So I think, unbeknownst to myself, striving to be able to play a lot of different things in a lot of different ways with a lot of different sounds just let's me feel good and experiment. I'm just doing what I want to do and if one day, twenty or thirty years down the line you can pick out , my style - whether it's writing or the sound of my guitar - that's cool. If not it just means I'm versatile and can get away with doing a lot of different things."
ON HIS GEAR
"I covet gear! You know those guys who just keep things and that buy a lot of gear and then swap out things a lot - that's me. I keep a lot of the stuff, I have a lot of things that are kinda cool and I'll play with once and now I have it lying around because I just never found a use for it again. I just have so much stuff and I don't have the room for it living in New York. It just seems irresponsible for me to continue to amass items just so I can switch them out when I want something else."
ON MAKING A CAREER FOR HIMSELF
"I've always been playing guitar and playing in bands and obviously Fall Out Boy worked out quite well, and now Fall Out Boy in on an indefinite hiatus at this point, so that allowed me to start with The Damned Things. I think I'm just continuing to try new things and do other things and projects. I think it's important to try to change my perception and other peoples perception of myself. I'm quite Jimmy Page obsessed so I think about how yes, he was a great studio guitar player, but he wouldn't have been recognized as a guitarist without Zeppelin. He polarized people with that band and because Zeppelin reached that level people recognized his talent and sort of know he's an incredible guitar player. There are all sorts of different players out there and all sorts of different bench marks for 'great' as a guitar player but I think we're not really in an age anymore where people are obsessed or even recognize guitar players like they used to. So I think to get noticed as a guitarist and make a career out of it, it's first and foremost about the band. It used to be that guitarists were the corner stone of the band and now it's a lot harder to get noticed, whereas, if you focus on the band and getting the band out there you're more likely to have a career in this business."