You were talking about doing some home-based session work – would you walk us through a typical session?
I get a lot of emails and calls asking if I will do a session. They’ll send me some mp3 files, I do what I want and send it back. Sometimes they’re songwriting demos, sometimes they are finished products; I just did a Kid Rock remix the other day. Let’s use that as an example. Atlantic asked Point Guard, the producer, to do a remix, so he totally changed the whole thing, sent it to me, and said “Rock some guitars on it.” The best part about it is these people know that I can do a lot of different shit so they never tell me what to do. It gives me some creative freedom which makes it really fun to do – it’s like, “Do your thing.”
I really try to play what’s appropriate for the song; whatever vibe I get from the song I try to enhance. This song had a Michael Jackson “Beat It” vibe, so I really just started doing this kind of crazy Thriller-era guitar part. I used Line 6 GearBox – I’m a huge fan. I plug it into my Pro Tools and two hours later I have a rockin’ track and I’m done. I just save all the files as mp3s and call it a day. I’ve done that for a lot of people.
Let’s stay with gear for a second. You’re a Strat guy, but you keep it pretty minimal, yeah? You had to buy the amp for the SNL gig, didn’t you?
What did you end up buying?
From 1990 until about a year ago I had two guitars, that was it. Those were the only guitars I had! I owned an amp in high school that was a solid-state Fender Stage 112 that I still used even when I was signed to RCA! I’m terrible at making decisions. I always wanted to get a tube amp, but I used so many different sounds on the Carbondale record that there was never any one amp that stood out. So I just used an amp that I had forever and knew what it sounded like. It had a good clean sound and I used a pedalboard – it was easy, call it a day. It became this funny thing; since the record I was supposed to buy an amp, and it turned into three years of never buying an amp. When I’ve done my own stuff, I used a friend’s amp. He has this Fender Hot Rod Blues Deluxe, or something like that. I’m not exactly sure. I’m terrible with this stuff.
How many speakers does it have?
It’s a 1x12 combo. I live in New York City and I don’t have a car; you don’t want to be traveling with a big amp – you really can’t do that. So you’re kind of stuck with a small combo amp that needs to have a little bit of power and sounds decent. And his did – it sounded good with pedals, you know? With SNL, you’re not allowed to have an amp on stage, and I figured it was time for me to get a tube amp. I’ve been playing guitar for, what, 15 years? It’s about time I get a real amp.
You can treat yourself, you’ve got an nice gig.
I wanted to get an amp that would be right for this gig, so I did a lot of research, asking around and seeing what people had to say. I couldn’t really get a total rock amp because a lot of this stuff is clean funk and blues, but I also needed something with a rockin’ solo sound – that’s where I can express my individuality.
I looked at a bunch of different things and eventually plugged into Bruno Super 100. I had literally never heard anything like it. I started playing and I had never sounded better. I was like, “Holy shit! This is my sound!” I heard what I’ve always wanted to hear when I play a lead – it was retarded, it just ripped my face off, I was so into it! The amp head was like $6200, way out of my budget. I thought, “There’s no way I can do this. This is a rock amp, it probably doesn’t even have a good clean.” And I was checking out the clean channel and it actually sounded pretty good. It was a 6L6 amp and I was looking for more of a Fender sound because I knew Lenny Pickett was like a big fan of the old Fender Bassmans, so I didn’t want to stray too far from that – I didn’t want to go British. I played with the amp for a while and the clean sound was really good and it stayed clean, even for a two-channel amp that had that a searing, articulate lead sound. I got the amp and used it on the show – it was the very first amp that I actually ever owned that was like a “big boy” amp.
Now I love using all sorts of stuff. I’m a huge Matchless fan and I’m getting into more, different sounds. Now I’m really into the British EL84 and EL34 sounds I was never into before. I’m appreciating different amps and it would be fun to try out some different amps on the show. I recently checked out some 65Amps for a recording session here; Dan [Boul, owner of 65Amps] brought down three different heads for us to use, and they sounded great, too.
The 65s have a nice thing going on; Dan and Peter are on to something.
Yeah, their new amp, the Monterey, sounded phenomenal. I’m more into gear now that I have somewhere where I can use it.
Let’s go back to the Strats for a second.
I just had those two guitars and I started contacting some other people. I have a good relationship with Fender and they’ve been really good to me. I’ve always used Strats, but I also wanted to get some other things. I came upon this Nash Strat which I love and sounds amazing. I’ve used that on the show, along with a KLH [Custom Relics] Tele. I’ve always wanted a Tele and I really like this stuff that these guys are doing where they relic the guitar. They feel really good; they sound and feel old. I don’t really like pretty, clean and new; I like character,
When Jared’s entertaining the masses, here’s what he plugs into:
2 Fender Strats
KLH Custom Relic Telecaster
First Act Delia
Bruno Super Lead 100
Bruno 2x12 cab w/
1968 Fender Vibro Champ
Analog Man Sun Face
EH Memory Man
H.B.E. Big D
H.B.E. Budda Wah
H.B.E. Uno Mos
2-Knob Keeley Compressor
Line 6 DL4
Line 6 Verbzilla
Sweet Sound Pro Bender
Sweet Sound Ultra Vibe
Planet Waves cables
I like style. When I come to L.A., I bring a Strat and a bag of pedals in my suitcase and just show up to sessions. People are generally pretty cool about me not having a ton of gear – they know I’m in New York and can’t bring an amp. But most people who have real studios have some amps there anyway, so that’s how I get away with it.
Tell us about some of your pedals.
When I got this SNL gig I also started looking at what would be the right pedals for the show. I did a lot of research, and you know there are a lot of good pedal makers out there, but the ones that I am really into lately are Analog Man, Keeley, Sweet Sound and Home Brew Electronics – those are the majority of the pedals that I use. For my SNL solos I have a HBE Wah and a pedal called the Uno Mos, which is a one-knob gain pedal. I also use Keeley’s Modded Tube Screamer; it sounds phenomenal. In my opinion, it’s the best sounding Tube Screamer around; I take it anywhere I go. There’s also a Keeley Compressor, an Analog Man Sun Face, which is the gnarliest fuzz – I bring that to the L.A. sessions. I use the Sweet Sound Ultra Vibe for SNL because it’s just good to have a little bit of that sound. What else? The Sweet Sound Pro Bender for more fun stuff. I also always bring my [EH] Memory Man, which is one of my favorite toys of all time – I can’t go to any session without it.
Is it vintage or a newer one?
I got it in 2000. It sounds better than the newer ones but it’s not like vintage vintage. It just sounds amazing. When I know I’m gonna be [in L.A.] for a long time, I ship out my Tele, but I always bring my Nash [Strat]. Right now, I have my Nash and the KLH here, which I just lent to James Valentine from Maroon 5 for a show. So basically, a Strat and Tele, those are my jams. For SNL I also wanted a 335- style guitar just because we do a lot of jazz and stuff that that guitar would sound really good on. So I ended up getting in contact with First Act and they made me a really amazing custom Delia. I’ve used that on the show.
The First Act custom shop stuff is really sick.
Yeah, they’re doing great stuff. And that guitar just kills – it sounds amazing. Those guys at First Act are really nice and cool. I’m originally a Fender guy, and I’ll always be a Fender guy at heart, but I’m bringing some other stuff into the arsenal. But at the end of the day, it’s always a Strat or a Tele.