The Southern rockers reveal their workingman’s approach to gear and show off some oddball axes.

Premier Guitar met with Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood, and Jay Gonzalez of the Drive-By Truckers before their window-rattling show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Sharing a love of the odd, these players rely on unusual instruments to create their genre-blending sound.

Mike Cooley’s Gear

Guitars
Drive-By Truckers cofounder Mike Cooley tours with a gritty boat of oddball beauties. First up is a stock Epiphone Flying V that has suffered some damage, but was glued back together.
Cooley describes his Gibson Corvus I as a “bad idea from the ’80s,” but he keeps rocking it and has retrofitted it with a P-90 pickup.
Two axes made by Baxendale Guitars of Athens, Georgia, round out Cooley’s collection. The warped T-style electric sports a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails in the bridge position and a Duncan Seth Lover SH-55 at the neck.
When he needs an acoustic, he reaches for his custom Baxendale. Amps
Cooley plugs into a single-channel Sommatone Roaring 40 head running into a matching Sommatone 2x12 open-back cab loaded with Eminence Red Coat speakers. He carries an unidentified Sound City head as a backup should the Sommatone give up the ghost. Effects
Much like the rest of his rig, Cooley’s pedalboard remains fairly simple. The signal chain starts with a Dunlop JD-4S Rotovibe and a Dunlop Cry Baby Wah. For dirt, Cooley uses a Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive and a Greer Amps Pork ’N’ Beans boost. From there, the signal goes to a Boss RE-20 Space Echo before hitting a TC Electronic PolyTune and a Morley ABY Switcher. The latter allows him to move between his acoustic and electric rigs. Finally, a Sommatone Boost footswitch sits nearby for those moments when Cooley needs more gain. Mounted underneath his Pedaltrain board, a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power2 Plus powers everything.

Patterson Hood’s Gear

Guitars
Patterson Hood travels with a mix of vintage and artisan guitars. The real looker in Hood’s collection is a semi-hollow Baxendale that’s equipped with a Bigsby and a pair of Seymour Duncan Antiquity humbuckers. Wes Freed, who does all the band’s artwork, designed the snake-shaped f-holes.
Hood also plays a pair of Gibson SGs, one of which is tuned down a whole-step.
Perhaps the most unusual instrument in the bunch is Hood’s Baxendale mandocello. Luthier Scott Baxendale starts by modifying the braces on an old Kay acoustic, then cuts a bridge and nut, and finally replaces the old tuners with new mandolin tuners. The mandocello is tuned F–C–F–C. Amps
For amps, Hood goes old-school Fender with a 1972 Deluxe Reverb, which he runs with a reissue ’63 Fender Tube Reverb. (The man likes ’verb on top of ’verb, sometimes employing both units at the same time.)
Hood keeps a Fender Vibro-King handy as an auxiliary amp. Effects
Like Cooley, Hood loads up a Pedaltrain board with a few essential stomps. After plugging into a TC Electronic PolyTune, Hood flaunts normal convention by placing his delays before his overdrives and distortions. Up first are a Roland RE-20 Space Echo and a Boss DD-3 Digital Delay. He then goes into a Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster, Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive, Boss GE-7 Equalizer, and an Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Analog Phase Shifter. A Morley ABY Switcher splits the signal to both amps. A Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus supplies juice to the entire board.

Jay Gonzalez’s Gear

Guitars
Much like his bandmates, multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez favors old, odd gear. His go-to is a 1968 Gibson SG Special—it has the original P-90s and Vibrola tailpiece. His other vintage Gibson is a SG-100 with a single P-90 and Bigsby. Amps
Gonzalez plugs into an Ace of Clubs combo built by another Athens-based builder, Steve Hunter. The amp has two channels—one British-flavored, the other American—plus reverb. Effects
Jay Gonzalez’s board starts with a TC Electronic PolyTune tuner. From there, the signal runs into his MXR Micro Amp, a DOD FX52 Classic Fuzz—modded by Steve Hunter—and a Xotic EP Booster. The sound gets trippy with a TC Electronic Flashback delay and ends with a Boss RT-20 Rotary Ensemble.

SWShopTheRigButton

Boss Space Echo RE-202 Demo | First Look

The newest take on the heralded echo delivers the original character of the iconic unit with modern functionality without the tape troubles.

Read More Show less

Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

Read More Show less

Developed with Nashville session ace Shawn Tubbs, this compact dual pedal provides organic, vintage tones, and the innovative "tilt boost."

Read More Show less
x