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Photo by Rachel Martin.
Let’s talk about the rigs you used for the album.
Klinghoffer: The album is a different story. We just kind of had fun with what was around at the time. I've amassed a lot of cool amps over the last few years, and Clint and I both have a lot of cool guitars. I think that, amp-wise … [to Clint] what did you record through?
Walsh: I used an old Deluxe Reverb.
Like, a blackface?
Walsh: It’s one of the ’68s with the aluminum drip, so silverface I guess—though that year is still technically a blackface. I used a [Roland] JC-120 for a few things. I really liked the combination of those two. Josh brought in a lot of cool stuff that he’d gotten over the last few years. Some of the amps I’d never heard of, and some of it was just like a candy store.
Klinghoffer: When we did the live tracking, the basic tracks were done over a few different sessions. I used an old Fender Super—like, a late-’50s Fender Super. And a Danelectro DS-100—that’s sort of been my secret weapon for Dot Hacker in the studio on this last album. During overdubs, we used a Watkins Dominator and a Watkins Scout a lot.
Walsh: There’s a song called “First in Forever” on the How’s Your Process (Work), and I remember Josh overdubbed his guitar with a Marshall … like a 4x15 or something.
Klinghoffer: I think it was a white Super Lead 100 with matching 4x15 cabinets. We miked it with some room mics. I’ll never forget how that sounded—it was huge.
So that’s yours, Josh?
Klinghoffer: Yeah, I think we found it somewhere in England. Ian and I have been looking for anything interesting. I play the Marshall Major onstage [with RHCP], so we’re always looking for Majors—especially if they’re in different colors. We found that 4x15 cabinet with a matching head….
Walsh: It’s the size of a safe—a refrigerator!
Klinghoffer: Yeah, it’s the biggest cabinet I've ever seen. It has an enclosed back, obviously, but the low end and the clarity of the low end is just unmatchable.
Is it a stock, factory cab or a custom thing?
Klinghoffer: That's a good question. I actually have no idea. Maybe it was a bass thing?
Walsh: [Laughs.] Yeah, maybe it was something made for Lemmy [Kilmister, Motörhead bassist].
Tell us more about the Danelectro DS-100 that you said was key to this album. Is that, like, a 6x12 cab with a head the size of a small combo amp?
Klinghoffer: Yeah, kind of. It’s very similar to the Silvertone 1485—the one with six speakers that I use onstage with the Chili Peppers, and that Jack White uses.
What do you like about it?
Klinghoffer: It’s just very clear. It’s got great bottom end, great top, and a great clean sound. If you turn it up, it’s huge. Sometimes a certain amplifier or piece of equipment is underwhelming, but with this amp that’s never the case: You plug in and you sound like a champ.
Walsh: I know I said this about the Marshall, but the DS-100—the one that Josh has—is one of the best amps I’ve ever heard. It’s got clarity in all frequencies, it’s really full sounding, and it takes pedals really well.
Which guitars did you guys use most on the new albums?
Klinghoffer: I used an old ’64 or ’65 Jazzmaster quite a bit. There was one session where I used this cool, custom prototype—there were only three made or something. I think it’s called a Harmony Glenwood. I think it was Harmony’s answer to the SG or the Les Paul Custom. If you google, like, 1961—around there—it was Harmony’s three-pickup answer to that, but I don’t think it ever went into production.
Does it have humbuckers and sound similar to a vintage SG?
Klinghoffer: I guess they’re humbuckers—they look like humbuckers. To me, it doesn’t sound too big. It’s actually pretty modest sounding. It has a short-scale neck … it’s a strange guitar. Those are the two guitars I remember using the most, but there were probably others here or there. I’ve been buying a lot of gear over the last couple of years, so whatever caught my eye that morning might have been brought down. I know I used my all-rosewood Tele on a couple songs.
What about you, Clint?
Walsh: Josh has a ’59 Strat with a rosewood fretboard. It’s a two-tone sunburst, and it sounds like no other guitar. I used that for a lot of stuff. I haven’t been partial to Strats for a long time, but I started playing them a little more with this band, and I feel like single-coils—at least on my end—really help with versatility. It’s easier to make the guitar sound less like a guitar when you have single-coils. [Pauses, then laughs.] I don’t really know how much I believe that!
You mean you’re able to get more diverse sounds out of your pedalboard with single-coils?
Walsh: I think so. I don’t know if I’m just looking for an excuse, but I generally use single-coils with this band. I used a ’62 Jazzmaster on this record, and Josh’s ’59 Strat. I have a ’52 relic Nash Tele that I love. That was on it. I think I played another Jazzmaster that Josh has. I basically stuck with those. I think there are a couple of tracks of a Yamaha 12-string acoustic that Josh and I both have, which we love.
Klinghoffer: A red-label from the ’60s.
Walsh: Yeah. I think we also used a Martin D-12.
Klinghoffer: Or one of those little mahogany Martins from the ’40s.