I get a lot of messages asking about the gear I use. I figure I’d make this blog and list everything. If you have any questions leave me a comment here and I’ll answer it. Maybe it will be helpful.
MATCHLESS CHIEFTAN 2X12 COMBO
This is the amp I use for most everything. I do use different amps in the studio, but this is my favorite.
60’S GRETSCH 6150T COMBO
This is a killer little 5 watt amp. It has the original 8 inch jensen blue speaker, the original tubes, and a great tremolo. It’s going to be great to record with.This is a great amp to use in a stereo guitar set up.
TRAINWRECK ROCKET CLONE
An Allyn Meyers built Rocket. It’s a great EL-84 based amp. I used it on the last John Mark McMillan/All The Bright Lights tour. It’s also on the new JMM album “Economy”.
1993 FENDER STRATOCASTER (AMERICAN STANDARD)
My first real guitar. I love it. I bought it brand new in 1994 at American Music in Orlando, Florida. My guitar teacher, Rick Bryan, drove me down on morning and we picked it out together. I think i payed $560. You can’t barely get a Squier for that these days. I replaced the pickups for some Lindy Fralin Blues Specials with the bass plates. They sound really good. They have a bigger, darker sound. To me, they sound more like the way a Strat sounds in my head which isn’t usually the way a Strat ends up sounding in real life. Big improvement over the stock pickups. This guitar is the guitar on the majority of the songs on the John Mark Mcmillan albums, including Skeleton Bones.
2001 FENDER TELECASTER (1952 REISSUE)
Very good sounding guitar. Pretty versatile. it’s on the heavier side for a tele. I played this on the last 4 Jason Upton albums; Beautiful People, Between Earth + Sky, 1200 ft below sea level, and On The Rim of the Visible World. I have 11’s on this guitar. Mainly because that is what was set up on it when I bought it and I’m too lazy to change. Or stubborn. I’m too stubborn to change. It does sound good with them, but sometimes it wears my wrist out. The Vintage style frets and big neck with the 7” radius.
1970’s FENDER PEDAL STEEL
pawn shop prize. hard to play. I did jump into the deep end with it and played it live on GODTV w/ Sarah Mcmillan and Rita Springer. It was fun and scary. Which is what music should be. One of these days I will get serious about it.
1966 FENDER MUSTANG
This is a great guitar. It’s all over the new JMM record ‘ECONOMY”.
1950’s GIBSON LAP STEEL
Real great. Real great. You’ll be hearing this on a lot of albums.
GRETSCH ANNIVERSARY HOLLOWBODY
My favorite guitar I own. So fat and great. Feeds back like crazy and goes out of tune a lot, but that’s all part of the charm. This is the guitar I used for the slide parts the song “Ashes and Flames” and “Walking in my Sleep” on John Mark McMillans album “The Song Inside the Sound of Breaking Down”. On Ashes, we just miked the actual guitar and it is one of my favorite sounds I’ve ever gotten on an album. I don’t fly with this guitar because if it was broken it would break my heart and I figure why risk it.
90’s DANELECTRO U2
These are great guitars. Plus, I’m a huge U2 fan. They are total garbage, but they sound really cool. I used one on Jonathan Helser’s new album “The Reward” on the song “I Have Risen’. I also used it for one of the rhythm tracks on the song “Wilora Lake” on the ATBL cd. It sounds really broken and trashy and nice.
1996 SQUIER VENUS
i love this guitar.
1996 SQUIER SUPERSONIC
it’s blue glitter. so.
I use Jim Dunlop Pyrex Glass Slides. The Heavy gauge ones. I love the sound of glass slides. They don’t have as much sustain as a metal slide, but they have a fuller, more mellow sound. If you are using glass slides, make sure you have a thick one. The thin ones sound like crap and are hard to play. The heavy guage ones are the best. I use my middle finger to play. Most people use their ring finger or even their pinky finger. I use my middle finger because that’s what’s the most comfortable for me. It’s easier for me to keep it on and still play chords. There is no wrong or right way. Whatever is comfortable and get’s you the sound you want. I use my fingers to pick the strings. no picks. i mute the strings i’m not playing with my fingers. Keeps it nice and quiet and stops the other strings from ringing out.
Cables. Planet Waves lead cables, Lava patch cables on the pedal board.
Strings. D’addario 11’s on the Tele and Gretsch. 10’s on the others.
Picks. Dunlop Gator Grip 1.14
I NOW USE A PEDAL TRAIN PT 3 THAT IS POWERED AND WIRED BY TRAVIS MOTLEY AT MOTLEY CUSTOMS.
this is (sort of) my board these days. it always changes though.
i switched to a handwired tubescreamer, and deluxe memory man with tap tempo. i’m pretty sold on the memory man. the tubescreamer is cool. it’s different than the ts-9. not necessarily better. just different. it’s a lot more open sounding, which i like.
i added an analogman mini chorus. i love chorus.
i have really been digging the walrus audio voyager and deep six pedals. great pedals and great company. you should check them out.