regarding my gear

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.


This is the amp I use for most everything. I do use different amps in the studio, but this is my favorite.

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.

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”.


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.

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.

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.

This is a great guitar. It’s all over the new JMM record ‘ECONOMY”.

Real great. Real great.  You’ll be hearing this on a lot of albums.

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.

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.

i love this guitar.

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




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.



  1. i honestly adore your own writing way, very attractive.
    don’t give up and also keep posting considering the fact that it simply just very well worth to follow it.
    looking forward to looked over far more of your well written articles, cheers 🙂

  2. My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

  3. Hey man, what settings are (were) you using on your DD5? I have a DD3 that I’m thinking about throwing back on my board to go along with my DL4 (bleh!) to help it out…


    1. i used the dd5 on the dotted setting pretty much all the time. i’d generally keep the level around 11 o’clock, but i’d turn it up with my foot for solos or whenever i wanted more.

  4. Hey bro,
    Just chanced upon this blog and I am amazed at how similar my board looks to yours! I agree that sometimes, a smaller board is the way to go. I’ve got my zvex FF tucked away in a drawer somewhere along with my Tap-a-whirl. haha I even have my Deluxe MM and volume pedal placed in exactly the same place. I just leave on my board what I need.

    Albeit that my gear is on an Ikea serving tray!!!!

    I’ve even got a red joyride on the way in the mail!!!! FREAKY…

  5. hey james, how do you approach using your 3 drive pedals with your amps? do you run your amps pretty clean them and rely on pedals for all your dirt?

    1. i run my amps pretty clean. i have my tube screamer on all the time and i turn the gain up and down with my foot. so for my clean sound, i still have the tube screamer on with the gain turned all the way off. i stack the other two with the TS.

      1. Ever had the pot or knob on the ts9 go out due to constant tweaking? Like have you ever had to get a new ts9 (Big whoop if you did right? lol)?

        Also, Have you compared the ts9 and ts808 for what you do and if so, what made you choose the ts9?

        Thanks for the info. You guys were amazing at the HOB in Houston last Friday!!!

  6. JamesD –

    Dude I picked up a DOD FX80b compressor/sustainer about a year ago and it’s siiick. It’s a super transparent tone and it gives you crazy sustain. I find that it actually benefits my sound rather than subtracting from it.

    I see you are curently using the MXR but just wanted to put in my 2 cents for the DOD incase you were looking for a new comp. These things are dirt-cheap as well (I think $35 for mine, ebay).

    ps. great show in Rochester, MN – you’ll have to make it back.


  7. Hey man, I’ve started listen to JMM and I’m dying to know how you get your sound (be it pedals or technique, I’m sure it’s a little bit of both) on “Death In His Grave”. Something about your slide work in that song just strike me every time I listen to it.

  8. Thanks so much for all this gear info, it has helped me a bunch. Just wondering, what combination of effects do you usually have on when you’re doing your volume swells? Like on JMM’s carbon ribs, for example?

  9. Hey James, was listening to “Dress Us Up” by JM and just wondering if you would be so kind as to share what you are using/ doing around 2:45 or so… Great ambient part. Thanks for this post, great stuff bro.

    1. i think i’m basically just playing one note. like maybe a C. beating the crap out of it though. then i move up to the D and bend that up to E. i played a lead in to that as well. sort of new waveish little thing. HEY!

  10. Hey James, I was wondering how you avoid chain noise from so many pedals on the line – my rig gets a loud buzz without a rocktron hush pedal or something to clean up the signal. What do you do?

    1. M, I don’t know. it’s not so bad. i mean there is definitely noise. but usually anything crazy comes from the typical bad venue power/single coil pickup combination. i think having good cables and a good power supply help out a lot.


    1. hey. on the album i believe it was my tele through an old silver face twin. on the live video it was my tele through a goodsell super seventeen with a bunch of pedals and stuff.

  12. Hi,
    I own a TS9 and just recently got a JHS morning glory, I’m tryin to experiment stacking overdrives, but I have a tendency to try to make them all sound the same. Any tips on getting good settings?

    1. those pedals are very different, but work together very well. i think with a little tweaking you will find some great sounds.

      1. I do a ts808 into a Timmy but differently than James does… The Timmy is my base cleanish drive sound and I hit the ts808 to bring in the mid-range boost when I need to stand out in the band mix… I leave the drive all the way down for the boost but turn it up with my foot when I need more ‘chunk’ 😉

  13. Hey James. Cool write up. One question tho: Have you compared your Deluxe Memory Man to the current “XO” models with the smaller enclosures? If so how do the new ones sound?

    I’ve been thinking of getting one, but I don’t want to waste my money if they aren’t the real deal. Peace.

    1. i’ve never played one but i hear they are still using the same delay chips. so i’m sure they sound pretty much the same.

  14. Hey James! Thanks for posting this stuff! I was hoping you could maybe tell me the order of your pedals on the board. It looks like you have your volume pedal in the middle of everything? If you have time could you possibly list them in order? Thanks man. Love your music. God bless.


  15. Any pedalboard/gear updates? I saw you play in Jax a while back and noticed a new volume pedal. Is it buffered? I’m thinking of ditching my VP jr. and looking for options. Peace.

  16. Hey James i just listened to your guitar playing and composition, and its amazing (ATBL and JMM) ! i play guitar as well and pretty much use the same pedals as you except the POG and my upcoming timmy 🙂 , just one question cause i dont seem to honor my delay EHX memoryman , what are the settings you have for the memory man? ill appreciate ur feedback THX MATE! God Bless

    1. OCD!!!!! that pedal is a monster and you can get some really great sounds out of it. it’s really versatile. even when switching from a regular 9v connect to an 18v connect. way more headroom. i’ve used both the sparkle drive and OCd and i’d go with the OCD.

  17. Hey man love every tone I’ve heard you use. Saw you at catalyst this year with John. Amazing. Keep doing what you’re doing cuz what you’re doing is awesome. One question. There are a couple videos of you and john and the band playing how he loves and death in his grave on youtube where the crowd is circling you. What mic is john using? That thing is sick.

  18. Hey man, when you use the slide do you use any special tuning or stay in standard? If you do use others, what tunings work best?

  19. Thanks for this James. For you slide work do you generally just crank up the repeats on the analog delay and have at it to get those nice long sustained notes you get (‘how he loves” intro on the medicine)? Any tips for a newbie to slide work like me would be much appreciated!

    1. for that song it was a combination of the delay, having a pretty overdriven, cranked amp and using my hollowbody gretsch.

  20. Any idea what year your memory man is? does it have the attached cord or the wall wart?
    Oh and I love the vibe of your guitar style! It has so much mojo. Thanks for sharing this.

      1. Any thoughts on which one is more tone full ? The wall warts one kinda get a bad rep. I am going to buy one, I just want to know if I should be looking for one or the other?

      2. i don’t really. i sort of like the one with the wall wart better. but it breaks all the time so i can’t use it live anymore. but they both sound good. i honestly don’t think there is enough of a difference to worry about it. but maybe there is. but maybe not.

  21. Hey man, not a gear question but I see you’re answering questions here so what the heck…

    Did Ryan Adams and the Cardinal’s Cold Roses album inspire your playing? The riff at the top of their tune Sweet Illusions reminds me of the into to Skeleton Bones. Also (this one is super obscure and kind of silly but..) I can here you play the main line in the tune “Now that You’re Gone” and the end of the live version of Death in His Grave.

    Not at all do I think you stole those riffs or anything, just wondering if you’ve heard them before and drew inspiration (I’ve certainly done the same). Cold Roses is one of my favorite albums. I LOVE being able to worship to music that I would actually listen to anyways. I’m a huge fan of what you guys do, it’s a great inspiration to me as a musician, thanks for doing it.

    1. good question. cold roses, and all ryan adams music for that matter is a huge influence on us. the intro to skeleton bones is basically an adapted rhythm of the “skeleton bones, stand at the sound…” melody, which i play underneath that part as well. I think the melody wasn’t really inspired as much as me using tremolo was. that was more inspired by sweet illusion as well as wanting to make a little quiet intro. so yes.

      the line at the end of Death In His Grave wasn’t inspired by “Now that You’re Gone”. It’s not really that similar if you listen close. but i can totally see why you would hear that. good ears. i love cold roses.

  22. James, I’ve been listening heavily to that slide riff on “How He Loves Us” and I think I might have it down. What all pedals do you use and what can you compare your tone to? It would be great help to hear this answer from the actual man behind the guitar than scowering the internet for eventually false information

  23. Hey, does the Memory Man (and if you know, Memory Boy) have tap tempo on it? Ive been searching around, and I havent found anything that explicitly states they have tap tempo, or if I could input a tap tempo pedal.


    1. electro harmonix just came out with the deluxe memory man w/ tap tempo. i believe they are discontinued already because they are out of the old nos chips they use. but it’s an amazing pedal.

  24. Whats wrong with Strymon pedal? I see that you take off the Blue sky and El capistan. Tell me a feedback about thats pedals. Are good?

  25. HI James, that’s okay with you. I see videos of the pedal on the website of Bluesky Strymon and have a question. He is required to use in stereo or mono can be the same. once again thank you

  26. Hi James!

    Great post bro!
    I have a Gretsch Hollowbody also, running through a Vox Handwired Edition and I love The Edge’s sound too. I have seen a couple of vids of you and let me congratulate your work! It is awesome. I LOVE feedbacks and those huge but sweet swells.
    I use a vintage ProCo RAT and an Eventide Timefactor for them. However I am looking for that back effect on your swells, I don’t get if it is the delay or a chorus or what. That effect that makes it sound very deep like in a huge hall, but I’m not sure if it is the reverb. It comes up after you play the notes, when the signal is fading out.
    What do you think could help me?

    Thanks in advance. Bless!

  27. Hey James,
    Ive gotten into your music lately about three months now, and i REALLY dig your sound… both bands (ATBL & JMM) are definitely a great inspiration to me. Question on your Morning Glory: What setting do you use? and how do you stack it with a TS (in what order)?

    God bless ya’

      1. Man, thanks for taking the time to answer all of our boring questions. 🙂 It makes us happy. Keep up the good work and may God continue to bless you, your family and your ministry.

  28. Hey, James.

    I was wondering how the dotted eighths sound to you on your DMM. I have to tap them into my DL4, but it’s such a hassel. I need an easier, quicker way to get that sweet delay. Plus my XO went on the fritz this week, and I’m really just looking for any reason to get the Tap Tempo.

  29. Hi James,
    I’m writing from Italy, here you have a lot of fans:-)
    What do you used in the album warship? exactly in “close to you”

    God bless you

  30. James a quick question for ya.. What Pedal did you use on “Who is this” to get that sick octave sound? Did you blend the octave pedal with your dry signal or was it all octave ?

    1. that is a micro pog with a tube screamer and a timmy. the big sound has the timmy with the gain turned up pretty high. that’s basically what i use it for all the time. i have it set for my most overdriven sound. i know a lot of people use the timmy for a clean boost type thing, but i prefer the higher overdriven sound on it.

  31. hey man real cool seeing all your photos on instagram. what mode do you use your dd20 on?(Tape, Standard, smooth, etc..)
    Is there anyway you could do some tutorials on some of your parts on JMM albums? That would be real cool!

  32. Quick question for ya. On the song “Who is this” from JMM new album, what pedal did you use to get the Octave sound and did you mix your dry signal, or was it all the Octave pedal?

      1. my old ts9 fell apart. i thought i’d try it. i bought it used. i wouldn’t recommend dropping the money on a new one. unless you want to. then go ahead. for me, it’s working great.

  33. Hey James,

    Has the Eventide Space perked your interest? I have it and am really pleased with it. I can’t imagine what the capabilities would be in your hands/head. Thank you for your music. Looking forward to the new ATBL album.

  34. Oh yeah, regarding the jam breakdown on “who is this”, was the trem effect amp driven, pedal driven, or outboard studio gear. Either way it was brilliant. How are you replicating that live with the speed changes? I used to own a Supa Trem and sold it foolishly. It had larger knobs that could easily be adjusted via foot. Thanks for your input!

  35. Lastly – it seems that the SM57 is very picky about how it is placed in front of the amp. I’ve had some bad experiences with “phasey” sounds due to poor placement. How do you normally mic your Chieftain? Straight, angled, close? Sorry for the multiple posts. You are a big influence for me. I can’t help but indulge!

    1. hey Alex. I haven’t tried the Space. I’ve heard it’s pretty cool though. On Who Is This i was using a Cusack Tap A Whirl. You can hold down the tap tempo button and it speeds up and slows down. That’s what I was doing there. As far as mic’ing my cheiftain, i usually just place a 57 just to the right or left of the baffle which runs down the middle of the speakers.

  36. What do you think of Voyager(Walrus Audio)? What do you use in the song “Love You Swore” in the part that say “I KNOW THE I LOVE YOU”?

  37. Hello, Sorry for my consecutive post but what effect you use in the musical interlude after the tremolo part?. Before the part of “Open up your doors, Everlasting God”

  38. Reverb placement? What do you think, before or after delay? Im running a DD5 for single repeat solo delay and a Memory Boy Deluxe for longer ambient sounds and I’ve been using my Rv5 at the end of my chain but havent gotten the chance to place it anywhere else.

  39. Hey james, really love your stuff on Economy! I was wondering what pedals (in particular overdrives, but all is nice too!) you are using for the solo of “who is this” when you are playing live? I really like the drive sound!

  40. Did you play the solo on Rita Springers All I Need recording? If so, do you recall what guitar and gear you used for it. That solo is a masterpiece. The tone is what I have been after for years. Thanks

  41. James, how do you feel about the dl4 instead of the dd20? i just picked one up for a little over $50 new, and i felt like i would be stupid if i didnt buy it. also, what do you use to power your board?

  42. Hey James, just wanted to say that I look up to you as a guitar player and that you have inspired me on more than one occasion. I love your style and sound. Also, I just ordered a Gretsch Anniversary, which I am quite excited about getting. I have always been a Gretsch guy though, I’m not trying to copy you, haha! God bless!

  43. James,

    Where did you get your rocket clone from? I’ve googled the snot out of it and can’t find anything. Know where I could get one?

    Thanks bunches,

  44. I have had the privilege of hearing you play several times accompanying John Mark McMillan and have seen you play an instrument that I am unfamiliar with and trying to find out more about. It has a body style similar to an electric strat, but also has a very short neck similar to the mandolin family of instruments. Can you share with me any information on this? (for some reason, I am thinking it could have been played during “Love You Swore”?)

    1. no i don’t have a designated slide guitar. i do have my action fairly high on all my guitars though. so that helps. thanks

  45. Hey there, James. I’m thinking about getting a micro pog soon, but noticed you threw yours away recently (twitter). Any problems or weird things i should take into consideration before getting one?

  46. also another thing, when you play slide is it all improv or do you have something roughly set before you play? i’m interested because i play a lot of slide myself.
    thanks, again.

  47. Hey james do you know anything about replacing tube in an amp? I’m just curious about it. Right now I have 2 Sylvania 6L6’s and 1 Sylvania 12ax7 and 2 60’s telefunken 12ax7. I want to swap some of them out for something different. Can you recommend anything particular?

    1. hey bryce. i don’t know a whole lot about tubes, but i do know that every tube will sound different in your amp. even swapping the 12ax7’s around will make a different sound. some tubes sound great in one amp and not so great in another. i’d just do as much research as you can.

  48. On “Seen A Darkness” how are you getting you intro and outro sound? Its sounds like a lot of delay reverb and fast picking? Any tips? Oh and i love your playing style and tone. you have my favorite sound out of all worship lead players!

    1. it’s a lot of things. i used a couple different reverbs. my RV-5 along with a Strymon Blue Sky. I think that was the only thing I used the blue sky for. i’m picking really fast and i also have 2 different delays going. and it’s probably a couple tracks going on at the end.

  49. Hey James, love your work. I noticed you run your volume after your drives, then sometimes at the beginning of your chain. Have you noticed one is better than the other? I appreciate all you do!

    1. I always run my volume after drives, regardless of where it’s located on the board. that’s how i prefer it. but a lot of people use them before the drives.

      1. James, you said you play drives pre-volume pedal; do you turn your drives off for swells? Do you leave any your drives on all the time?

        I’ve tried playing drives first, but my swells always sound too intense. Too drivey. To avoid this I currently have Vol, comp, drives…

        Your atmospheric stuff ive heard on the medicine sounds pretty good. Does your amp just have a lot of headroom, or what?

      2. Funny that I found this conversation. I had forgotten all about it. I just came back to this page to ask about your signal path. I have begun to use my compressor a lot more often. This morning I noticed that the compressor is compressing (duh) my volume swells a lot, which makes them sound less like swells. I may try placing the compressor in front of the Vp. Thanks for the good advice you have given people from this page. You’re the man.

  50. Hi James, I would really like to know how I can create swells similar to the 1300ft below album you took part in. I’ve got a very simple setup: TS9 with 808 mod, DD-3 and RV-5. I’m thinking to buy a DD-20 or a Ehx DM boy. I see that I’ll be needing a volume pedal as well. Do you have any suggestions to what the next step for me could be? I’m trying to create less strings and more space for prophetic worship in our worship team. Thanks man, keep up the creativeness

    1. I don’t remember what I was using for that record. but you could easily make it happen with your current set up. you’d just need to crank the delay and reverb levels. a volume pedal would help, but you could do it with your guitar volume as well.

  51. Hey James! Love your guitar playing. had a question for ya. I just got a goodsell super 17. Just wondering why your not using yours anymore? Also did you have any trouble getting a thick lead tone out of it?


  52. Hey man! I was wondering which reverb would be better. I’ve got a Vox AC15VR and it has built in reverb, but I also really like the line 6 verbzilla and the boss rv5. Do you have any input? Also, great job with “Still Beating.”

      1. I am definitely a fan of the RV-5 over the verbzilla. I had used the verbzilla for a few and immediately went to the RV-5. It sounds so amazing.

  53. Hey James

    I was just wondering what power supply you are using with your board
    also what do you like about the JHS morning glory? Im about to get one
    traded my Little green wonder the PCB version for it.
    Have a great day

  54. Sustain bro. Sustain..

    How are you achieving your sustain? Does your comp help a lot with it? Or is it just a ton of delay layered? Higher volume of the amp?

    For example, the chorus of “Who is this”. When you come in with those open chords. I just can’t seem to get those chords to ring out for that long.

    Thanks for answering questions on this blog for like 2 years..

  55. Question about sustain…

    Lets take the song “Who is this” for example… The lead part before the first chorus, and even when you come in with the chords after that. It seems like those notes/chords could go on forever. How are you achieving that? Comp? Ton of delay? Higher amp volume?

    1. hey there. i don’t know exactly. i am always running a compressor, which helps a lot with sustain. but with the chords, i think it has more to do with the voicings of the chords. maybe. i don’t know. i wouldn’t say i have a ton of delay going. but the combination of a fairly overdriven sound, compression, reverb and delay probably helps get that sustain you are talking about. and i was in the live room when i was tracking the guitars, standing right in front of the amps. so there’s that as well. hope that helps. thanks.

  56. Do the Morning Glory, Voyager, and tubescreamer all compliment each other together or is there a point where they get too muddy?

  57. Hey dude, I currently have the TS9 on my board and I’m debating picking up a second overdrive type pedal. I noticed in a couple pictures of your board you had the JHS Morning Glory set up and you also mentioned you like the the Walrus Audio Voyager.

    I am debating between the two in terms of versatility, compatibility/stack-ability with the TS9… etc. Any helpful suggestions?

    As far as the sound I am hoping to achieve I play in a lot of church contexts and personally also love the ambient swell stuff that you dominate so smoothly.

    Thanks for being cool.


  58. Hey

    I am looking at getting either a JHS Morning Glory or a Walrus Audio Voyager. I know you have played around with both. I already have a TS9 on the board – so ideally something that is going to stack well and compliment the Ibanez would be best.


    Thanks for keeping the world awesome.


    1. peter, it’s really a matter of what you are wanting to achieve. i am pretty happy with the morning glory/tube screamer. the voyager works great as well.

  59. Hey James, how much did you use the Trainwreck Rocket clone on “Economy” and What speakers did use with it? Your guitars sound great on the album. I’m a big Trainwreck fan man, and I’m really looking forward to getting one. The Rocket would replace an AC30. Did you try any other Trainwrecks before you decided on a Rocket (Liverpool or Express)? Anyway, keep on doing what you do, because its truly amazing stuff, inspiring. God Bless.

  60. Hey man loving Economy – excellent work. We’re coming to see you guys in Atlanta in a few weeks. Quick question – would you mind comparing the Timmy and Voyager? I have a Timmy and I am considering the Voyager, but I haven’t found a lot of info about it other than the basic description and the demos On YouTube.

  61. Hey James, on who is this…did you use any delay? if so what did you use? quarter note, dotted, mod or no mod? pretty much how did you set up the delay if you use it.

  62. Hey dude. I just got into JMM and because of that got into what you’re doing with him and ATBL and I love it. Your tones all around (but especially with your swells) are what I’ve been trying to create for a long time.

    I know this might be impossible to answer but if you could tell me what your top 5 favorite/most essential pedals are for your sound, I’d really appreciate it.

    Thanks for answering all of our questions. We all appreciate it.

  63. Hello James. We seem to have a similar taste in overdrives. I have the JHS double barrel which is a Morning Glory and a TS 808 in one housing. I also have the Timmy. I was wondering how you use your Timmy in conjunction with the TS and the MG. I have lately been setting it up like a boost but it feels like a waste because I love the thing so much. Just cant get the right “stacked” tone when all the pedals are set up to sound good by themselves. Can’t make up my mind on chain order either. Any suggestions?

    It is great the you do this for us! Thanks for inspiring us with your playing and humoring us on this blog. You seem like a solid guy.

  64. Hey James, great show last night. My sister in law(your brother’s friend) introduced us. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to chat. Good luck with the rest of the tour!

  65. Hey James,
    I was wondering, what amp were you using in the video for “Skeleton Bones”? I have been searching for a smaller amp tone like that and was interested! also, if you have any recommendations that may sound like that would be cool! thanks man. you really have changed the way i play and look at music.

  66. I just started putting together my board, and I’m looking for a good compression pedal. Any suggestions? Can’t wait to see you and JM in june! thanks

    1. i use the chorus on the first verse of Economy. and then whenever… i’ll just turn it on to make the guys laugh sometimes. i love chorus.

    1. look up “motley customs artist james duke” on youtube. it shows a similar setup and the signal chain is posted.

    1. it’s always different depending on the song and what i want. there is no wrong. unless it sounds bad. but probably not even then. XOXO

  67. Do you still use the JHS Little Black Buffer? I’m debating getting one. Thanks for posting all your gear on your blog! Whenever I talk about my guitar tone I say I model it after yours!

  68. i saw that you played a earthquaker devices organizer in Atlanta. I am trying to decide on this pedal or the micro pog to put on my board to cover those 12 string guitar type sounds and to add depth to swells. could you give me your opinion comparing the two? i’m not asking you to decide for me, but would like to hear your thoughts if you have a minute. thanks

  69. Hey, man. Met you last night in Pensacola and talked about our mutual bud, Gabriel. Incredible tones! I have to get a Squier Supersonic now. Such a cool look and vibe! Did you keep the stock humbuckers in it?

  70. hey so i was just going over the song “who is this ” off the new album. and i was wondering how you got that “spargly”(best way i can describe it) sound right before the solo. Im playing the song at a retreat this weekend and would love to knoow whats going on there. thanks a bunch.

  71. Looking for that coveted ambientish sound like everyone else here. budgeted college student who doesn’t wanna drop a ton of money on pedals. would you say that the compressor is a must have, after the delays and reverbs..??
    could you do what you do without a compresor pedal.. (on say, carbon ribs for example).

  72. James, I enjoy your playing. I’m mostly only aware of your work on All The Bright Lights and John Mark McMillan. What other albums can I hear more of you on???

  73. Hey James,
    I know you get questions about gear all the time but I was watching the session you did in the Relevant Studio earlier this year and you were using a Vox AC15H1TV 50th Anniversary. I was pretty pumped when I saw that because that’s exactly what I have and I’ve never seen you post it as part of your rig. Couple questions. How do/did you like that amp? Looks like you were using channel one instead of the top boost channel, and what type of setting did you have the amp at? Thanks again!


  74. Hey man, I was wondering if you ever experimented with any of the Full Tone Pedals, and if you could recommend one for just a very sweet overdrive sound.


  75. Are you still using your revelator strat? I heard you had one. Just wondering because I ordered one and have had a very….. difficult experience. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  76. hey james! im currently on the market for a new go to stuck between the gretsch anniversy, gretsch country classic jr or a american standard tele. whats your take on it?

  77. Hey James,

    I’ve been trying to get a kind of ambient wash under my guitar, but have been having some trouble getting the current notes to cut through the wash. I really like how your leads cut through your effects so well in “Who Is This” while still having a pretty wet signal. Any tips on getting that sort of sound?

    P.S. Thanks for the blog, it’s a great resource.

  78. hey James, always loved your slide work, question, what are your settings for your delay and verb whenever playing slide? especially delay Thanks!

  79. Helpful stuff man, thanks. Question… what are your thoughts on the Line 6 DL-4 delay? I want to get a second delay and i’m not sure whether to go with the Line6 or a memory man.

  80. Odd question, I adore your sound, but I play cello.. Have you ever heard of someone trying to run a cello through a set up like yours?

  81. hey James,

    Question, what is your approach when it comes to making solos/certain parts of a song stand out in terms of effects?


  82. James,

    Been a long time fan of your work. I especially enjoy the lap steel-esque sound you are able to achieve with your slide and tremolo. Gives the slide a cool rootsy feel. Where do you place the tremolo in your signal chain?


  83. hey james,
    How do you get the “far away” tone in songs like sheet of night? sounds like a verb , sorta, and a faraway amp.

  84. James,
    Do you use the presets on your DD-20? If you do, would you mind sharing the settings for each preset? I’m trying to help out a website called the Church Collective inform other P&W guitarists the best way to utilize the DD-20. Thanks!

  85. Hey James, i noticed that you dont have the Stella in the list of amps. Do you still use it? Also, im happy with my amp right now, but eventually i want something better with more watts. Right now im kinda digging the Bad Cat Judah. it sounds great in the demos and i was wondering if you have played one and what you thought of it?

  86. James,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve recently revived my love for the “tone quest” and have been re-thinking my pedalboard. I’m running into a Morgan 40 watt head nowadays. I was curious about one thing: Which pedal is that yellow one with the upside-down-anchor-ish symbol? It’s super intriguing. Thanks!


  87. The chieftain is a pretty bright amp, and the sm57 is a bright mic, how do you manage to stick a sm57 just barely to the side of the center of cone? You tones are always thick and smooth. Do you EQ your amp dark for micing purposes? Cut alot of the treble and brilliance? And is the chieftain still a favorite or had bad cat made you forget all about her?

    1. i don’t really consider the chieftain a bright amp.i don’t turn the brilliance up past 7 o’clock, though. most of the time it’s all the way off. i still use the chieftain all the time. i love that amp.

    1. James Duke sou do brasil curto seu som e acho de mais tenho um DD20 por causa de vc e estou querendo compra um memory man compartile seus presets do DD20 seria uma Honra ter seu preset no meu DD20 fique na paz e aguardo sua resposta

  88. James, really glad to find this blog/site explaining your gear! Always enjoy listening to you whether its with John Mark or elsewhere. I really appreciate your approach to worship songs and how you fit in so well without doing too much or becoming distasteful. I just started building my pedalboard a year or so ago and I just got a Walrus Voyager which im loving! Do you have a favorite way to set the knobs for it? Also, I saw that you were at the conference at Pastor Dan Keisler’s church in NC and I wish I could have been there. God bless, and continue to praise and play the way that you do because if it hasnt helped anyone else in the world it has certainly made an impact on me.

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