Are there any new guitarists out there who inspire you?

In the studio, Kosche prefers powering his Eminence-loaded Splawn 4x12s with one of the three SugarFuzz 30-watt tube combos he built himself after studying Gerald Weber’s and Aspen Pittman’s definitive books on tube amps.
Not to put anyone down, but it’s rough now. The last guitarist who I can remember as carving out something new was [Rage Against the Machine’s] Tom Morello. There are definitely some great guitarists out there—just do a YouTube search and you’ll find tons of players who can blow through some mind-bogglingly fast stuff. Maybe I’ve just gotten old, but at this point, I’m really most interested in hearing someone who plays something creative that complements a song. It doesn’t need to be a million notes or anything.

Joel Kosche’s Gearbox
Assorted MJ Guitar Engineering Mirage models (one with P-90s, six with humbuckers, and one with Tele-style electronics), one 6- and one 7-string Soloway Swan, assorted PRS McCarty models


Two Vox AC30 Custom Classics, Splawn Nitro head, Splawn Quick Rod head, Splawn 4x12 cabinets with Eminence speakers, homemade SugarFuzz 30-watt tube combos

Strings and Picks
Ernie Ball 2215 6-string sets (.010–.052), Ernie Ball 2621 7-string sets (.010–.056), Dunlop Ultex Sharp .73 mm

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, DigiTech Whammy, Morley Bad Horsie 2 wah, Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah, Boss OC-3 Super Octave, MXR EVH 90 phaser, Rocktron Replifex, Rocktron MultiValve, Heet Sound EBow, Line 6 Echo Pro, Option 5 Destination Rotation, Z.Vex Vextron Series Mastotron fuzz, Keeley Compressor


Two Voodoo Lab GCX Guitar Audio Switchers, Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro Programmable MIDI Foot Controller, Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2, Boss TU-12 tuner, Furman PL-Plus Power Conditioner and Light Module, Furman PL-Plus D Power Conditioner and Light Module

Although Kosche also uses MJ Mirage guitars with P-90s and Tele-style electronics, he tends to favor humbuckers for his live guitars. Note the subtle differences: The two leftmost guitars’ pickups are screwed directly into the body, the two outer guitars have wraparound tailpieces, and all have Volume knobs for each pickup, a Tone knob, and a 3-position pickup selector switch—except for the pickguard-outfitted model, which has a Badass bridge, a single-coil in the middle position, Volume and Tone knobs, and a 5-way pickup selector. Kosche’s live amps include two Vox AC30 Custom Classics (top right) for clean tones and Splawn Quick Rod (top left) and Nitro (bottom left) heads driving Splawn 4x12 cabinets with Eminence speakers. The amps are plugged into a Furman PL-Plus D Power Conditioner and Light Module.

Kosche’s favorite guitar is a mahogany-bodied MJ Mirage with an ebony fretboard and a thin black finish with no top coating. “It’s taken some lumps out on the road,” he says.

Kosche only keeps a Boss TU-12 tuner, his Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro MIDI controller, his Splawn Quick Rod head’s channel selector, and treadle-equipped pedals like his Morley Bad Horsie 2 wah, DigiTech Whammy, and Ernie Ball Volume Pedal onstage. He powers it all with a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2.

Kosche’s rack includes (top to bottom): a Furman PL-Plus Power Conditioner and Light Module, a Rocktron MultiValve, a Line 6 Echo Pro, a Rocktron Replifex, two Voodoo Lab GCX Guitar Audio Switchers, and a pedal drawer containing a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 (just out of view) driving a Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah, a Boss OC-3 Super Octave, a Keeley Compressor, a Z.Vex Vextron Series Mastotron, and an MXR EVH Phase 90.

The SugarFuzz combos that Kosche designed and built himself from scratch—including everything but chassis welding—feature a top-boost AC30-style clean channel labeled “Sugar” and a hot-rodded Marshal-type channel labeled “Fuzz.” The SugarFuzzes are driven by a quartet of EL84s and have a Master knob, independent Volume knobs for each channel, and shared Bass, Treble, and Cut controls.