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Rig Rundown: G. Love & Special Sauce (2014)

The bluesy, hip-hop-informed singer/guitarist/harpist and bassist Jimi Jazz walk us through multi-amp rigs and retro instruments.

Premier Guitar met with guitarist/harpist Garrett Dutton—aka G. Love—before his February 23, 2014, gig with Special Sauce at Third and Lindsey in Nashville. Love gave us the details on his signature Eastwood Airline guitar, his rootsy pedalboard, and his Ampeg amps, while bassist Jim Prescott (aka Jimi Jazz) showed us his foldable upright bass and dual-amp rig.

G. Love’s Gear

Love’s main road axe these days is his Eastwood Guitars Airline ’59 3P humbucker in “G. Love Signature Black and Blue.” It has all the funky charm of a pawnshop guitar but the functionality and playability of a well-made modern instrument. The color was inspired by the beloved ’60s Crucianelli-built guitar that Love used on many early albums, and which he still brings on the road with him. The four-pickup vintage instrument appears to be a 1963 Élite 40-V Blu, and it features what Love calls a “mother-of-bowling-ball” back, sparkle top, and the original six plastic switches that have since been bypassed in favor of a 2-way selector (near the volume and tone knobs) that toggles between the “All” and “B&T” (bass and treble) settings.

Love also still tours with the first guitar he bought after getting a record deal—a 1970 Gibson Les Paul Custom. He also hauls along an open-G-tuned Gretsch Black Falcon. When Garrett wants to blues it up, his go-to guitar is a newish National metal-bodied tri-cone resonator with a Highlander pickup. His most recent purchase that’s been getting road time is a Bohemian Oil Can guitar with a single humbucker.

A trio of Ampegs and a single Fender supply all of Love’s amplification needs. His electric guitars usually run simultaneously into a handwired Ampeg J-20 Jet and a Fender Hot Rod DeVille. Both his acoustic and resonator guitars run into a DI, which splits their signals between the front of house and an Ampeg SJ-12T SuperJet. His harmonica and vocals run through a vintage Hohner “bullet” mic, which runs into a passive Whirlwind DI that sends a signal to an Ampeg J-12T as well as a clean signal to front of house.

Love’s guitar signal goes into a Dunlop Cry Baby GCB95 wah, which has been squeezed off of the pedalboard to make room for other effects. Next the signal hits a Boss TU-2 tuner, then a Keeley 2-knob Compressor, Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron, Boss BD-2 Blues Driver, Xotic Effects RC Booster, Boss BF-3 Flanger, Electro-Harmonix Wiggler, Boss DD-6 digital delay, and a Voodoo Lab Amp Selector, which lets him use up to 4 amps simultaneously. Love also uses a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2.

Jimi Jazz’s Gear

Special Sauce bassist Jim “Jimi Jazz” Prescott plays a Chadwick Folding Bass, a 3/4-size upright whose body looks like a standard double bass but which has a hinged neck joint and a removable back panel that lets you fold the neck into the body for easier transportability. He outfits the bass with a Biesele pickup mounted to the end of the fingerboard, as well as a bridge-mounted, dual-element Fishman BP-100.

Prescott sends the output from the Biesele pickup to an Ampeg SVT-3PRO head feeding an Ampeg SVT 8x10, while the Fishman pickup feeds an Eden World Tour 800 head driving an Eden D210XST.