This article series is about the tools of popular guitarists. What are their favorite guitars and how is it related to them? This time with Lars Åhlund (SOEN)
When it comes to gear I’m very practical minded. I want everything to be as easy as possible. In Soen I play guitars, keyboards, percussion and backing vocals. I just don’t have time to mess around with knobs and settings. In general I like my guitars to have two pickups with separate volume knobs. I prefer low output humbuckers. I like classic style guitars, therefore almost all of my instruments are Gibsons and Fenders.
White Fender Stratocaster. Mid 80s Japan.
I bought this guitar for €300 in 2008 or 2009. It’s a fantastic instrument that’s been modified many times. I made the final changes to it in 2019 when I installed a DiMarzio firebird pickup in the bridge, a noiseless single coil in the neck and took away the middle pickup. I changed the pots to two 500k volume knobs and one master tone plus installed a three way switch instead of the regular five way. I really love the firebird pickups. They got a sweet shimmer to them and that works perfectly together with Cody’s PRS humbuckers. The reason that I use two separate volume knobs is because I go a lot back and forth between guitar and keys. The fastest way to make my guitar quiet is to just flip the switch to the neck position and have that pickup rolled off. I use this guitar live all the time. It’s extremely versatile and reliable. You can also hear it all over Imperial. When I play strats I never use the tremolo arm, therefore I have the bridge tight to the body and use 5 springs in the back for as much stability as possible.
Guitar #2 black Strat
Fender Blacktop. MiM 2019
I bought this one as a backup to the white Strat. I did the same kind of modifications to this one. 2 volume and 1 master tone with a three way switch. I have Lundgren BJFE pickups installed in this guitar. Still haven’t played it live since I bought it during last year. However, you can hear it feedback on deceiver and dissident.
Guitar #3 Gibson Firebird 2016
I saw it hanging in a shop in northern Sweden. Tried it just for fun and then I couldn’t let go. It felt just right. I LOVE the firebird pickups and I love the shape and weight and playability. Instant love! I use this guitar as much as I can live. It’s also all over the place on Lotus.
Guitar #4 Red Gibson Les Paul deluxe 1972, factory second.
It was already modified to a standard when I bought it. I changed the pickups to Lundgren heaven 67s. I used this guitar as a backup during the Lotus tour and as main guitar during Tellurian and Lykaia tours. When it comes to recordings I prefer to use it on leads. For instance you can hear it on the Modesty solo.
Guitar #5 Gibson B-15 1968
This beaten up little guitar records extremely well and is very nice to play, with a neck that reminds you of a Les Paul. You can hear it on River, Virtue and EMDR. I found it in a guitar store in Stockholm 2012 and it was an instant love affair.
Guitar #6 Gibson Flying V pro HP 2016.
Just got my hands on this one. My plan is to use it during our upcoming Imperial tour. Don’t know exactly which songs yet but I think it will be a perfect choice for songs like Monarch and Sectarian. Time will tell…
Cheers: Lars Åhlund