Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Rig Rundown: Joanne Shaw Taylor

The British blues player’s simple-but-brawny tool kit for tough tones.

At age 13, Joanne Shaw Taylor switched from playing classical guitar to electric and fell in love with the big, tree-splitting sound of Texas Tele-slayer Albert Collins. Over the decades since, she’s developed her own high-voltage take on blues that’s packed with growl and sustain, and is driven home by her dynamic and intense fingerpicking.

Taylor’s first album, White Sugar, was released in 2009. Since then, the Wednesbury, England, native has navigated an international career distinguished by heavy touring and the release of six more albums, including her new Reckless Heart, which draws on her songwriting, vocals, and fat Telecaster and Les Paul tones to provide a well-rounded summary of her art.

We caught up with Taylor on a recent gig at Nashville’s City Winery, as she led her band through the final dates of a club tour that would then lead into summer festivals. She gave us the lowdown on her current road gear, including a pair of T-style Fenders and a Gibson Les Paul—hinting at two of the pillars of her inspiration: Collins and Free’s Paul Kossov. Listen to her tone as she opens the video with a taste of her biting and badass guitar-slinging style.

Click to subscribe to our weekly Rig Rundown podcast:

D'Addario Auto Lock Guitar Strap:https://ddar.io/AutoLockStrap




While Annie Clark was named the 26th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2023, she couldn’t care less about impressing an athletic stamp on either her sound or her image.


Photo by Alex Da Corte

On her eighth studio release, the electroacoustic art-rock guitarist and producer animates an extension of the strange and singular voice she’s been honing since her debut in 2007.

“Did you grow up Unitarian?” Annie Clark asks me. We’re sitting in a control room at Electric Lady Studios in New York’s West Village, and I’ve just explained my personal belief system to her, to see if Clark, aka St. Vincent, might relate and return the favor. After all, does she not possess a kind of sainthood worth inquiring about?

Read MoreShow less

The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

Read MoreShow less

Mdou Moctar has led his Tuareg crew around the world, but their hometown performances in Agadez, Niger, last year were their most treasured.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

On the Tuareg band’s Funeral for Justice, they light a fiery, mournful pyre of razor-sharp desert-blues riffs and political calls to arms.

Mdou Moctar, the performing moniker of Tuareg guitar icon Mahamadou “Mdou” Souleymane, has played some pretty big gigs. Alongside guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and bassist Mikey Coltun, Moctar has led his band’s kinetic blend of rock, psych, and Tuareg cultural traditions like assouf and takamba to Newport Folk Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, and, just this past April, to the luxe fields of Indio, California, for Coachella. Off-kilter indie-rock darlings Parquet Courts brought them across the United States in 2022, after which they hit Europe for a run of headline dates.

Read MoreShow less

How do you capture what is so special about Bill Frisell’s guitar playing in one episode? Is it his melodies, his unique chord voicings, his rhythmic concept, his revolutionary approach to pedals and sounds…? It’s all of that and much more.

Read MoreShow less