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Rig Rundown: Brendan Benson

The Raconteurs guitarist and solo artist welcomes PG into his studio to show off his collection of offbeat and vintage gear.

Brendan Benson took a break from recording and touring with The Raconteurs and his solo project to show Premier Guitar around his studio in the heart of Nashville’s music row. Although Brendan’s live rig is about as simple as it gets, (Vox AC30HW2, Guild M-75 Aristocrat, and a Spontaneous Audio Devices Son of Kong pedal) in the studio he employs a bevy of oddball pedals, guitars, and amps.

Guitars

When it comes to guitars, Brendan has a huge assortment of unexpected options including MotorAve, Epiphone, Danelectro, Harmony, Vox, Fender, Gibson, Trussart, Eastwood, Castle Creek Dobrato, Låg, Silvertone, Matin, Guild, and more.

Effects

Brendan spends a lot of time experimenting with sounds in his studio. This cabinet full of effects conveniently located in the amp room gives Brendan almost unlimited tone options.

Amps

Brendan wisely began buying Supro amps before they came into vogue. Today he has an impressive stash of Silvertone, Vox, Fender, Marshall, Reinhardt, Epiphone and 65Amps.

The trio bandleader and Jason Mraz backer breaks down her journey through guitar academia, how to play with other musicians, and whether theory still matters.

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Amazon Prime Day is here (July 16-17). Whether you're a veteran player or just picking up your first guitar, these are some bargains you don't want to miss. Check out more deals here! https://amzn.to/3LskPRV

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A technicolor swirl of distortion, drive, boost, and ferocious fuzz.

Summons a wealth of engaging, and often unique, boost, drive, distortion, and fuzz tones that deviate from common templates. Interactive controls.

Finding just-right tones, while rewarding, might demand patience from less assured and experienced drive-pedal users. Tone control could be more nuanced.

$199

Danelectro Nichols 1966
danelectro.com

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The Danelectro Nichols 1966, in spite of its simplicity, feels and sounds like a stompbox people will use in about a million different ways. Its creator, Steve Ridinger, who built the first version as an industrious Angeleno teen in 1966, modestly calls the China-made Nichols 1966 a cross between a fuzz and a distortion. And, at many settings, it is most certainly that.

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The author standing next to a Richardson gunstock lathe purchased from Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory. It was used to make six necks at a time at Gibson in the 1950s and 1960s.

Keep your head down and put in the work if you want to succeed in the gear-building business.

The accelerated commodification of musical instruments during the late 20th century conjures up visions of massive factories churning out violins, pianos, and, of course, fretted instruments. Even the venerable builders of the so-called “golden age” were not exactly the boutique luthier shops of our imagination.

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