Gear

Silvertone - Jag

Silvertone - Jag

I bought two of these guitars at the same time in a pawn shop in Columbus Ohio. Each one was $29.95 and the price was written on the back with a sharpie. It has a very clean, clear single-coil pick up sound like a Fender and it plays quite well to boot.

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Silvertone - Lipstick

Silvertone - Jag

The famous Jimmy Page-type guitar, it was made in the 60's for Sears Roebuck in Chicago. Legend has it that the Helene Curtis cosmetics factory had an abundance of chrome lipstick tube covers which somehow ended up in the Silvertone factory to be used as pick-up casings. Great slide guitar with beautiful Lowell George tones.

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Tiesco Del Rey

Tiesco Del Rey

Made in Japan for one of the mail order catalogues this 60's guitar has 4 pick-ups and more switches than really needed. The body contours are fabulous. I use it tuned down to a C with very heavy flat-wound strings - it can sound like a truck coming at you.

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Tres

Tres

A three-quarter sized Cuban instrument with 3 pairs of strings tuned to E, C and G. I don't play it very well but it can easily add sparkle to any track.

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National Triolian

National

Probably my favorite guitar, it was built in 1929 and the serial # is 36W (it is the 36th one made). Its steel body is now a rust-tone but was originally a fake brown woodgrain. It is truly the voice of God (if God plays a slide guitar). If you play it for 3 or 4 hours it takes over and plays you - tells you some stories.

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Gibson Classical

Classical

A real beater, this 60's nylon string has been glued back together a dozen times. I tried giving it to Bazil Donovan in New Orleans many years ago when I was drunk but he refused. It ended up on the Blue Rodeo song Bulletproof.

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Washburn Acoustic

Washburn

I found this on the south side of Chicago for $35. I think it is from the 30's or 40's. Look closely, it has been to hell and back, tons of character. I usually string it up in a Nashville or high-strung tuning where it can give a track the feel of a 12-string guitar without taking up all the sonic space of a 12-string. It has a baseball bat for a neck.

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Greenfield Hawaiian Guitar

Greenfield Hawaiian Guitar

This acoustic lap slide guitar was built in 1930 in Edmonton and is meant to be played Hawaiian-style. It was a gift from the Tragically Hip for playing on their Phantom Power record. It is a sweet, sweet guitar that I treasure. I tune it down to a C to make the room rumble.

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Garrison 12-String

Garrison 12 String

That's Mike my guitar tech holding the Garrison. Made in St. John's Newfoundland this is a very well-balanced 12-string that plays great and has great tone. I use it live with Blue Rodeo.

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Gibson SG

Gibson SG

This is a re-issue of a 60's SG with Seymour Duncan Antiquity pick-ups and it is a real tone peach. It plays like a fretless wonder and is my main electric guitar – I played a '66 SG back in ’72. I got this from Pete Kesper's collection at Capsule Music in Toronto. Held by Mike Oksman./p>

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Vantage 12-String

Vantage 12-String

There's Mike again, my guitar tech holding a secret weapon. Vantages are considered cheap guitars but this 12-string is built like a tank, solid, tight construction and it plays fantastic. It has 2 split-coil DiMarzios so you have a dozen different tone options. A real find for $350. Dallas Good from the Sadies plays one as well.

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Gibson Hummingbird

Gibson Hummingbird

Made in '67 during their flat top golden years this guitar has the magic tone without a doubt. I found it in a pawnshop in Kansas City, Kansas while on tour with Wilco. The pawnshop owner was a cousin to a Chicago pawn shop owner that I knew so he called him up and they gave me a great deal on the guitar - $750! I couldn't play it for the first month because I couldn't get it out of Jeff Tweedy's hands.

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Live Blue Rodeo Rig

Live Blue Rodeo Rig

This is my pedal steel rig, very simple but it gets the job done. I used to have 8 effect pedals for the steel but I recently bagged that mess and now just use the delays in the PodXT (no amp pre-sets, just the delays). The amp is an Evans from the 80's I think - it is a custom high-end steel guitar amp and it is the first amp in over 20 years that does what I need for the steel guitar. The pedal steel was made for me by Jerry Fessenden in Monpelier, Vermont and it is a custom job too with 12 strings, 5 floor pedals and 5 knee levers.

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Supro #1 Lap Steel

Supro #1 Lap Steel

Of the 30 lap steels I own this is the one that never fails me. Look on the right hand side and you can see a peg that attached it to another identical steel. It was originally a double neck. It has the mother of all tone pick-up with a plate over the strings and magnets on each side of the strings - it is so responsive and has tons of character. Look closely again and you can see a 12-volt battery taped to the guitar. I routed out a cavity under the fingerboard and installed the circuitry of a Crybaby wah wah pedal. The button on the right activates it and the chicken-head knob on the left controls the sweep of the wah wah.

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Rickenbacker Lap Steel

Rickenbacker Lap Steel

From the 50's (perhaps) this is 20 pounds of pure bakelite, with a great, great design and the hottest pick-up ever - the old horseshoe. If you are playing a loud rock gig this is the fattest, heaviest tone you can get. It screams on the high end too.

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National Unison Lap Steel

National Unison Lap Steel

I found this in Cincinnati, Ohio in the 80's in an old, old pawn shop. The guy said it carried the curse of Geronimo. Hmmmmmm…….It was originally a double neck but that was before I found it. I customized it by moving the strings to create 4 pairs of unison strings, just like a mandolin. When you play a note you strike two strings tuned to the same pitch which creates a pretty cool chorusing effect.

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Gibson BR-4 Lap Steel

Gibson BR-4 Lap Steel

This is a beauty from the 50's with an original P-90 pick-up. I used to have 2 of these guitars but I sold one.

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Stella Squareneck

Stella Squareneck

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Fender Vibrochamp

Fender Vibrochamp

A great little amp from the 60's that delivers that classic Fender tone at a low volume.

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Gibson Amp

Gibson Amp

I think this is from the 50's, it has one tone control and a volume control for instrument and microphone. This amp really screams - turn it to 1 and it breaks up nicely, turn it to 2 and it is full out Angus Young. 3 to 10 just adds more saturation, brilliant!

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Ampeg Jet

Ampeg Jet

This little amp has the coolest, choppiest vibrato.

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Ampeg Reverberocket

Ampeg Reverberocket

The classic 60's amp. It is a little honky but for garage rock you can't beat it.

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Mike Matthews Dirt Road Special

Mike Matthews Dirt Road Special

Mike Matthews was one of the founders of Electro Harmonix and this was an amp he put out in the late 60's or early 70's. The whole deal was to have the smallest most powerful amp technology would allow and this is it. It weighs 35 pounds and it is clean and loud, loud, loud. The kicker is that it has a built in Electro Harmonix Small Stone Phase Shifter.

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Delay/Reverb

Boosts

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Distortion

Distortion

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