When I first formed Rollingexile playing live I mainly played Yamaha electro acoustics. After a year or so I started playing Telecasters as my main guitar on stage. I currently have 4 Telecasters , during the time I used these I made changes like fitting a whammy bar to my 1981 Japanese Squire, my friend Garry Roberts from the Boomtown Rats helped me with the routing and then I just fitted a standard tremolo kit.
My other telecasters I did various changes like fitting a twin humbucker another one I fitted Emg pickups. I think the lesson I learned from that period „if it aint broke don’t fix it“ hahaha.
My next love affair was with Epiphone Les Paul Special GT 2’s which I bought two during a US tour in 2015 ,they came with a Whammy bar as standard. I really liked them partly due to the light weight and being the rhythm guitarist and front man they suited me really well. In 2016 my guitar shop had a flash sale on Gibson guitars , I never considered Gibson as I always felt they were too pricey, and the Gibsons I tried in the past didn’t make me feel there was a big enough difference in sound to make me pay an extra $1800 dollars just because it was a Gibson. So in the flash sale I bought my first Les Paul a 59 tribute in black . From the moment I played it I just felt right , the neck was slightly wider than my telecaster’s which made me feel a lot more comfortable with chord changes and accuracy , also the neck is quite thick which again suites me well.
When I got the Black Gibson I lowered the action re did the intination although to be fair to Gibson it was pretty well set up. The only issues I had were the nut ,and the frets which were jumbo , I had these shaved by a Luther I use in London . For the most part I do all the maintenance on my guitars , and if its beyond my remit I send it to the Luther.
The nut was replaced by Gibsons Luther , I requested a bone nut which they did , the Gibson Luther remarked „your action is incredibly low“ , I said „I always bring the action on all my guitars as low as I can get them right on the edge of string buzzing“ haha , he finished by saying „the only other guitar that I have seen with action that low was Neil Young’s‘ „I said well I’m in good company then“ hahaha As I loved the black Les Paul so much, I bought another two Gold TopTributes which really have been my work horses for the past 4 years.
I mainly use the black Les Paul when I’m in the studio as it seems to have the best overall sound , also use my Yamaha acoustics quite a lot through all three Rollingexile albums
I have had no need to change anything as they just work for me straight out of the box, I did have issues with the jack inputs on all the Les Pauls, I had a look at them and realised they had fitted stereo jack inputs , so replace them with mono and that seems to have cured the issue. My live set up I pretty simple , use two amps purely to get a blend that suites the rhythm guitars sound in the band , a Roland JC 30 and a Fender Acoustasonic. I have a channel selector in my pedalboard so I can switch amps , mostly I use the amps together. I don’t use many effects , mainly chorus and on some songs I use a blues driver, all solos and melodies are done by our great lead guitarist Federico Bianco, who mainly uses a Les Paul 1974 Standard.
I usually have my pickup switch set to bridge and neck pickups , I rarely use rhythm or treble , the middle portion gives me the overall blend I like. I use Daddario 10 – 46 which I have been using since the 80’s recommended by my mate Garry from the Rats.
That about it .. The Beat Goes On :]
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Deep Down. Yamaha APX 500