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Premier Guitar's Tessa Jeffers is on location in Nashville, Tennessee, where she catches up with guitarist Zack Lopez of Middle Class Rut. Lopez discusses his new current live setup with a full band, as well as the three-rig configuration used for the two-man attack that MC Rut is known for. He also demos his "simplified" rig which is built upon a tonal foundation made up of a Gibson Les Paul Jr. and a Orange Rockerverb, which he manipulates and colors with a healthy pedalboard.
Guitars Middle Class Rut guitarist/frontman Zack Lopez has a huge affinity for Les Paul Juniors because of their heaviness. “I love feeling like I have a tree around my neck,” he says. His main LP Jr. is a ’57 reissue acquired in 2001 from the Gibson custom shop on the suggestion of recording engineer Joe Barresi. “I made my whole sound out of this guitar,” Lopez says. It has a stock P-90, but Lopez swapped the bridge for a Leo Quan Badass bridge. He also has a backup LP Jr., but it’s “too light” compared to the No. 1.
Lopez has a custom T-style “Creswell” guitar with P-90s that was built by his tech, Corey Creswell, who relic’d it with a torch. Lopez plays it on “Dead Eye,” two-and-a-half steps down, using locking tuners to keep the G in tune. Lopez’s guitars are strung up with Dean Markley Blue Steels (.011-.052), and he uses Dunlop Nylon .88 picks.
Lopez used to play through two guitar rigs and one bass rig for live shows before employing a guitarist and bassist on tour. He says they still use these same rigs, but just split them up between three people. Lopez plays through an Orange MKII Rockerverb 100W head driving an Orange 4x12 closed-back cab with vintage 30s. Middle Class Rut’s second guitarist, Evan Ferro, plays through Lopez’s Ampeg SVT classic.
This pedalboard is Lopez’s version of scaling down. He has a Lehle D.Loop switcher to activate several effects, including his Rocktron Intellifex, which he uses for a massive chorus delay like the one used in the lead on “New Low.”
Lopez relies heavily on his DigiTech Whammy (his favorite pedal) for pitch changes like that in “Are You on Your Way.” He uses a Boss Octave, an Orange footswitch (with reverb always turned on), a Boss RC-25 Loop Station, and two delays: an MXR Carbon Copy for a saturated delay and a Boss DD-2 for clean delay. He also uses an MXR Micro Amp to boost his cleans and an MXR Bass D.I. for low-end sounds.