Session/Touring Guys

fenderbender4

Gold Supporting Member
Just wanted to know for all the guys who do session and touring work, what kind of guitar do you use the most?
 

KennyM

Supporting Member
I like to use a different guitar and amp for each track. For me the first calls are an R9 LP and 56' Tele but a Gretsch Brian Setzer, a couple of good sounding strats and a LP Jr. see a lot of action as well.

The more I layer stuff the more guitars get used, but basicly to cover your minimum bases recording I think you need a great Tele, Strat and HB type guitar (LP, PRS, etc.). A good Gretsch gets a lot of use these days too. Everything else is icing on the cake and it's a great sound to double a part and use a different guitar from the same food group.

I do think your main workhorses have to be really great sounding, in tune guitars. The rest can be for ear candy.
 
i'm a touring guy. stick to my PRS mostly. strat for some stuff, tele for others.

KennyM said it best...workhorses are the great sounding, in tune ones. the rest is probably show or little taste change.
 
Depends on the gig really. I tend to like custom guitars that can cover alot of ground. As a sideman out of Nashville, you don't usually have your own tech. So give me a strat type with a humbucker in the back and I can cover most territories. Anderson, San Dimas, Suhr...I'd rather play a guitar the whole night that I'm comfortable and confident it will get the job done ie (stay in tune).

Like Kenny says your workhorse has to be great sounding and in tune!
 

fenderbender4

Gold Supporting Member
Do you ever get requests for certain guitars? Like someone specifically asks for a strat or something? Or is it up to your own discretion?

Thanks for the input, I'm really interested in what the session/touring players are into.
 

PFCG

Member
i do sessions and i play my parker/two rock combo almost always. I do different stuff on request of the artist, but most of the time its for people i know and they trust my judgement. At big shows i do the same, maybe an extra guitar if i tune differently
 

KennyM

Supporting Member
Do you ever get requests for certain guitars? Like someone specifically asks for a strat or something? Or is it up to your own discretion?

Thanks for the input, I'm really interested in what the session/touring players are into.
Sure, but nothing usually too exotic or unbendingly specific. I mostly do guitar sessions for myself as I compose and produce a lot of projects (the best way to get hired a lot as a musician in my opinion), but when I do sessions for other producers, it's usually suggestions like "can we use a Strat on this part" or the "Tele's too much twang, how about a LP". Just as much as this may seem to be a specific request for a specific guitar, it's more about what kind of part and sound someone's looking for.

Most of the time people just want you to come up with parts and attitude/ vibe that works for the song. The guys that try to tell you exactly what to play and what guitar to use are just kidding themselves if they think that's the best way to produce a piece of music. I as a producer don't do that with other musicians and I wouldn't even do that with another guitar player working for me. The best producers, in my opinion have a concise vision, but paint with broad strokes. This lets you get the most creativity out of working with people.

That's sort of an off topic ramble so I'll sumarize. Make sure you have a great sounding, in tune Tele, Strat and HB type guitar and you've got 90% of the bases covered. You also wont suck on the remaining 10% of stuff that another guitar might have been a little better choice. A great sounding guitar will always sound great.
 

DANOCASTER

Silver Supporting Member
most of my sessions are at my own place - people come to me cuz I have a great HD rig here and ALL my stuff ( which is a lot actually )

If I go elsewhere - it's probably just a '72 tele and a '66 Guild Starfire ( or my 66 335 ) - maybe a strat and / or a Les Paul

Alot depends on the magnitude of the gig - is it a record / demos / full price or a "favor" ?

A Tele / Starfire - into a nice pedalboard - into a blackface Vibrolux Reverb does cover a LOT of ground

BUT if they come here - I've got vintage Fender / Marshall / Vox and loads of different guitars

THATS WHY the busiest "session guys" have cartage that take EVERYTHING from studio to studio
 

Mixoso

Silver Supporting Member
In the studio a Les Paul, Strat, Jazzmaster and my old Epiphone Texan seem to cover me. Some good dirt pedals are important as well so you can get decent clean sounds, mildly overdriven and totally saturated without a lot of hassle. Plus be sure they are all intonated properly...very important. If I had to bring just one it is the jazzmaster.
 
I do mostly jingle sessions and independent recording projects. It's good to have the basic flavors covered...Tele, Strat, LP etc. I have a Tom Anderson Hollow T Classic which does a great job for the Tele/Strat stuff, and I also have a Suhr Classic w/ 2 singles, a humbucker and a whammy bar that also works really well in the studio...producers love the Buzz Feiten tuning system.

As of late I find myself using my Duesenberg 49er more and more, it's got a P90 in the neck and a really sweet sounding humbucker in the bridge...the guitar's kind of a cross between a Les Paul and a Gretsch, but in the middle p/u position you can also get some really great single coil tones, very bell-like and great for clean chordal work.
 

dunara

Member
I love my bigsby - equipped tele in the studio, but it's a bit too squealy for live work. Sometimes a microphonic pickup can be your friend when you're looking for sublime, chimy clean tones - just ask Adam Levy, or numerous Nashville guys.
Live, my Tokai strat with Lace Holy Grails, and my Bigsby-equipped Gibson ES135 covers most things.:)
 

kldonegan

Member
Tomorrow i've got country demo's in the morning and a rock record in the evening. I'll take a Tele, Gretsch, Les Paul and a Strat for electrics. Usually a Larrivee and an old Silvertone from the 40's for acoustics. This covers "pretty" and "ugly" acoustic sounds pretty well. I'll also bring a mandolin or a 6 string banjo or some exotic thing if it's requested.
My 1st reach is always the Gretsch. Les Paul and Tele come after... I'm not in much of a Strat mood lately, so it's there if I really need it. Sometimes I leave it home.

Live I take any number of these guitars... whatever gets it covered. Last Thursday it was the Gretsch and Les Paul, Friday and Sunday it was just the Gretsch.

It all depends...
 

hangten

Silver Supporting Member
for touring i tend towards fenders - especially after arriving in New Zealand to tour and the bandleader's 1970 SG had the headstock snapped off. the strings were detuned and it was in a great case but that wasn't enough. he got it beautifully repaired... the next year we arrived in england...headstock snapped off. guitar retired.

I'm using a 62 RI tele with harmonic design pickups. covers a LOT of ground.
 

dunara

Member
I see you're in Scotland - do you gig much around Edinburgh? Maybe I can swing by one of your shows.
Hi Melj - I live in the Borders, but I play in Edinburgh every now and again. I played at Finnegan's Wake last night with 'Seattle'. I had the JTM45 up full with the Les Paul Junior....:dude

I'll be doing that one again soon - I'll keep you posted.

Colin
 

KennyM

Supporting Member
I do sessions and touring work and think that, as everyone's been saying, covering the basics is key. However, I have found that being able to quickly dial in new tones is just as important as having the right vehicles for tone. Become extremely comfortable with any and all the gear you take to sessions or on the road

KennyM is right that the best producers give players creative freedom, but sometimes do so with extremely vague phrases - I kid you not that I was once told that my part needed to sound like "a waterfall on a springtime night." Hilarious. And the song was great.
When I'm producing - If you can't nail the "waterfall on a springtime night" vibe, you're outta here :D

Sometimes direction can get a little shall we say, abstract :rolleyes: Usually it's some reference to another player or group although in that vein my favorite was "it needs to feel more up and bright - like Coldplay". We kept using that line around here for months and it didn't matter whether it was metal, industrial, hip hop, ballad, whatever. Just make it more up like Coldplay.
 

JohnM

Member
I had to peek into this thread just to see if there were really any players making a living doing session work these days...:D
 

tj1004

Supporting Member
Tomorrow i've got country demo's in the morning and a rock record in the evening. I'll take a Tele, Gretsch, Les Paul and a Strat for electrics. Usually a Larrivee and an old Silvertone from the 40's for acoustics. This covers "pretty" and "ugly" acoustic sounds pretty well. I'll also bring a mandolin or a 6 string banjo or some exotic thing if it's requested.
My 1st reach is always the Gretsch. Les Paul and Tele come after... I'm not in much of a Strat mood lately, so it's there if I really need it. Sometimes I leave it home.

Live I take any number of these guitars... whatever gets it covered. Last Thursday it was the Gretsch and Les Paul, Friday and Sunday it was just the Gretsch.

It all depends...
What model Gretsch do you play?
 


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