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

Rig Rundown - Middle Class Rut's Zack Lopez

Inside the three-rig setup for the two-man band.

Premier Guitar's Tessa Jeffers is on location in Nashville, Tennessee, where she catches up with guitarist Zack Lopez of Middle Class Rut. Lopez discusses his new current live setup with a full band, as well as the three-rig configuration used for the two-man attack that MC Rut is known for. He also demos his "simplified" rig which is built upon a tonal foundation made up of a Gibson Les Paul Jr. and a Orange Rockerverb, which he manipulates and colors with a healthy pedalboard.

Guitars Middle Class Rut guitarist/frontman Zack Lopez has a huge affinity for Les Paul Juniors because of their heaviness. “I love feeling like I have a tree around my neck,” he says. His main LP Jr. is a ’57 reissue acquired in 2001 from the Gibson custom shop on the suggestion of recording engineer Joe Barresi. “I made my whole sound out of this guitar,” Lopez says. It has a stock P-90, but Lopez swapped the bridge for a Leo Quan Badass bridge. He also has a backup LP Jr., but it’s “too light” compared to the No. 1.

Lopez has a custom T-style “Creswell” guitar with P-90s that was built by his tech, Corey Creswell, who relic’d it with a torch. Lopez plays it on “Dead Eye,” two-and-a-half steps down, using locking tuners to keep the G in tune. Lopez’s guitars are strung up with Dean Markley Blue Steels (.011-.052), and he uses Dunlop Nylon .88 picks.

Lopez used to play through two guitar rigs and one bass rig for live shows before employing a guitarist and bassist on tour. He says they still use these same rigs, but just split them up between three people. Lopez plays through an Orange MKII Rockerverb 100W head driving an Orange 4x12 closed-back cab with vintage 30s. Middle Class Rut’s second guitarist, Evan Ferro, plays through Lopez’s Ampeg SVT classic.

This pedalboard is Lopez’s version of scaling down. He has a Lehle D.Loop switcher to activate several effects, including his Rocktron Intellifex, which he uses for a massive chorus delay like the one used in the lead on “New Low.”

Lopez relies heavily on his DigiTech Whammy (his favorite pedal) for pitch changes like that in “Are You on Your Way.” He uses a Boss Octave, an Orange footswitch (with reverb always turned on), a Boss RC-25 Loop Station, and two delays: an MXR Carbon Copy for a saturated delay and a Boss DD-2 for clean delay. He also uses an MXR Micro Amp to boost his cleans and an MXR Bass D.I. for low-end sounds.


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

U.S.-made electronics and PRS’s most unique body profile make this all-American S2 a feast of tones at a great price.

Many sonic surprises. Great versatility. Excellent build quality

The pickup selector switch might be in a slightly awkward position for some players.


PRS S2 Vela


Since its introduction in 2013, PRS’s S2 range has worked to bridge the gap between the company’s most affordable and most expensive guitars. PRS’s cost-savings strategy for the S2 was simple. The company fitted U.S.-made bodies and necks, built using the more streamlined manufacturing processes of PRS’s Stevensville 2 facility, with Asia-made electronics from the SE line.

Read MoreShow less