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Interview: Drive By Truckers' Patterson Hood - "Go-Go Boots"

Interview: Drive By Truckers' Patterson Hood - "Go-Go Boots"

Hood takes a break from riffing on the SG to belt out some notes at a January 2011 show in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Ian M. Ireland.
You’re known for having a uniquely analog mindset in the studio. The album’s liner notes say the album was tracked to “glorious 2" tape” and mixed to half-inch. What do you like about the analog approach?

I like the warmth of it. I love the way it kind of distorts and breaks up a little bit when you hit it hard. You can smash that snare drum a little and get a sound that you just don’t get with digital, because digital’s so clean and perfect. Sometimes if you turn up that snare a little to where it smashes against the tape, it becomes part of the sound.

You guys also maintain a pretty hectic touring schedule, meaning you play a lot of backline gear. What kind of amps are you playing on the road these days?

I’m playing a Fender Vibro-King from the Fender Custom Shop. It’s a bigger amp with three 10s, and I’ve been playing that for about a year. I stumbled onto one last summer when we were playing a festival in Europe—that’s what they had for me in the backline instead of what I had asked for—but I fell in love with it. I came home and ordered one the day I got back, and that’s been my live amp ever since.

What’s your pedalboard look like?

I don’t have a lot of effects. I’ve got a Boss DS-1 Distortion, which is probably the one I use the most, and a tap tempo delay, which I usually use one to two songs a night. I use a phase shifter one song a night on Cooley’s “Birthday Boy,” although I didn’t use it on the record. I also have an Electro-Harmonix Holy Stain, and I used it on “The Flying Walindas” on The Big To-Do, although I don’t use it live anymore. A lot of times for what I do, it works best to keep things pretty simple.

Patterson Hood's Gear Box

Patterson Hood uses mostly vintage and analog equipment. He uses D’Addario strings. All cables are Rapco Horizon.

(Main) Baxendale Harwood - 12-fret, ebony fretboard, koa back and sides, spruce top
(2nd) Kay Craftsman - 14-fret ebony fretboard, mahogany back and sides, spruce top This has gone through Scott Baxendale’s “Harmony Conversion” process, which consists of resetting and refretting the neck, removing the back and replacing all the braces with Baxendale’s bracing pattern, and finishing with a new bridge saddle nut and tuners.
(Mando) Kay Uku/Mandocello - 14-fret ebony fretboard, maple back and sides, spruce top. This is a parlor guitar converted into a mandolin using the Baxendale “Harmony Conversion” process with a little added twist. Says tech Damon Scott, "As well as the standards of a 'Harmony Conversion,' I rebraced it a little heavier, then cut a bridge and nut for double courses of four and replaced old tuners with new mandolin tuners."

All acoustics use Fishman Acoustic Matrix Natural II through an Ampeg SVTDI tube DI. Patterson plays .013 Phosphor Bronze strings.

(Main) Gibson ’68 Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop with Mini Humbuckers
(Main) Gibson SG Special
Baxendale Archtop semi-hollowbody with Bigsby and Seymour Duncan Antiquitys
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Reissue with Seymour Duncan Antiquity II Mini-Humbuckers
Reverend Warhawk with Les Trem
Epiphone Firebird electric mandolin

All electrics use Seymour Duncan pickups when not stock. Patterson plays .011 nickel wound strings.

Gibson Skylark (Mostly used for acoustic solo shows and in studio)
Ampeg Jet (Used for in-stores, solo shows, and as a C amp on stage)
Fender Tube Reverb (This and the ’75 Deluxe are main rig)
’75 Fender Deluxe Reverb (Stock, except for swap of Jensen C12k speakers)
Fender ’64 Deluxe Reverb Reissue (modded to 40-watts, blackface Vibroverb circuit, Class A)
’76 Fender Twin Reverb (moded to class A)
Fender Vibro-King (Patterson’s main backline amp)
Ampeg Gemini I (David Barbe’s amp used in the studio)

All repairs maintenance and mods by Steve Hunter at Thee Electrick Church. Athens, Ga.

PedalTrain 2 pedalboard
Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus
Boss TU-2 Tuner
Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer
Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive
Roland RE-20 Space Echo
Seymour Duncan STX-01 Pickup Booster
Electro-Harmonix Holy Stain
Electro-Harmonix Small Stone
RapcoHorizon A-B-Y

All cable looms are made by tech Damon Scott using many supplies from RapcoHorizon.
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