Premier Guitar met up with Laura Jane Grace and James Bowman of Against Me! to talk about combining shimmering Rickenbackers and classic Les Pauls with some ferocious pedals and cranked amps.
Laura Jane Grace's GearGuitars
Laura Jane Grace has always loved the sound and feel of the iconic Rick. She travels with two beloved and abused completely stock 360 Rickenbackers—one black and one white.
She also tours with a rare, black 3-pickup Rickenbacker 370 outfitted with a Mastery bridge mod.
When Laura wants to change it up, she goes to her Nash Esquire, with a Seymour Duncan Antiquity humbucker. All guitars are strung with Ernie Ball Cobalt 10-46.
Laura plugs into a very loud and lonely Vox AC30C2X outfitted with a pair of Celestion Alnico Blue speakers. To get a bit more stage volume and tonal variety she runs a Vox 212 extension cab with two Weber Blue Dog speakers. She carries a ’60s-era Fender Bassman 50 as a backup.
Laura’s signal starts with an old school 1/4" cable running from her guitar to a Boss TU3. The signal then hits an MXR EVH Phase 90, EarthQuaker Devices Black Eye, and a Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive. From there it runs into a Reuss Musical Instruments RSH-02 and ends with an MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay.
James Bowman's GearGuitars
James Bowman keeps it simple with collection of Gibson Les Pauls with Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups and Ernie Ball Cobalt .010-.046 strings. His main axe is this 2005 ’57 Goldtop reissue.
Coming in a close second is a 1981 Les Paul Custom.
He also brings out a 2008 Gibson Les Paul Florentine with a Bigsby. And for variety, Bowman picks up his Nash tele—which is also loaded with Seymour Duncan Antiquity humbuckers.
Bowman goes for classic, bone-shattering tube tone. He runs a Bogner Shiva with 6L6 tubes into a vintage Orange cab with the original Celestion Greenback speakers. Working in conjunction with the Shiva is a Fender Tone-Master plugged into an Orange 4x12 with Weber Alnico Silver and Blue speakers.
Bowman also eschews a wireless setup and plugs his guitar straight into a Boss TU3. From there the signal hits a LOOOPER eight-channel looper which directs the signal to an EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath, EarthQuaker Devices Ghost Echo, MXR EVH Phase 90, Smart People Factory Cali Quake Tremolo, Ibanez AD9 Analog Delay, Keisman Juggy Boost, Smart People Factory Red Threat, Smart People Factory Ego Booster, and a Strymon Timeline.
Special thanks to guitar tech Patrick Benson for his input on all things guitar.